Buying mouthwash isn't as easy as visiting the chemist or getting your supply from your local dental clinic. Have a stroll down the supermarket's toiletry aisle and you will be bewildered by the variety of generic and brand name mouthwashes available in a multitude of flavours lining the shelves. They promise to either fight gingivitis, prevent tooth decay, freshen your breath, improve whitening or all of the above.
Don't be overwhelmed. Choosing the right mouthwash doesn't have to be an excruciating task if you know what ingredients will meet your dental needs. Here's what to look for:
If you're somebody who wants to implement a mouthwash into your daily brushing and flossing routine, opt for one that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a very beneficial ingredient that will strengthen your teeth by rebuilding weakened enamel. Fluoride-based mouthwashes are quite safe for everyone.
Gingivitis is the name for inflamed and infected gums. It is a form of periodontal disease that destroys sensitive tissue and gums that support teeth. That's why mouthwashes that contain essential oils are great for battling gingivitis. Essential oils in particular are known to soothe gums and kill nasty bacteria that cause gingivitis.
Fight cavities with fluoride-based mouthwashes. Fluoride is a natural mineral that attracts other minerals, which all work together to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.
Want to combat undesirable breath? Many mouthwashes contain eucalyptol, thymol or menthol, which act as flavouring agents to improve bad breath. Keep in mind that alcohol-free mouthwashes are the best choice. Since alcohol is a drying agent, it causes mouth tissue to dry out. And a dry mouth promotes a breeding ground for bacteria that cause bad breath.
Many leading brands offer child-friendly mouthwash flavours such as bubble gum. Some mouthwashes can contain up to 75 percent alcohol, so remember to avoid alcoholic mouth washes – they're not a wise choice for children and pregnant mothers.
There are chemical-free, sugar-free and alcohol-free mouthwashes on the market. Many use baking soda as a natural abrasive ingredient that will remove stains. And you don't have to worry about tasting bad; ginger and pure mint oils are used for flavouring.
To make the most out of using a mouthwash, make sure you rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting out. This allows enough time to dislodge any food and kill bacteria. To achieve the best results, avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after gargling with mouthwash.