Using the Right Mouthwash

Using the Right Mouthwash

What is the best way to take care of your teeth? Brush, floss, swish with mouthwash, rinse and repeat. Mouthwash has gone through quite a transformation in the past few decades. Back in the day, there were only a few brands on the market: Listerine, Scope…Lavoris?


But the mouthwash your grandparents used may not be what’s right for you. When it comes down to what is the best mouthwash, it is all dependent on your unique, individual health concerns.

The best person to tell you which mouthwash is best for you is…you guessed it…Dr. Miller. Maybe an over-the-counter mouthwash will work fine for you, but it’s also possible that a prescription mouthwash may be best for your specific oral health.

Many cosmetic (over-the-counter) mouthwashes lead to staining, but if you have inflammation and bleeding gums, the pros of using mouthwash may outweigh the cons. However, be sure to find out if the mouthwash you use actually has a therapeutic, rather than simply cosmetic (breath-freshening) effect.

There are many mouthwashes on the market today, and figuring out which one is best for you can be overwhelming. What are all the new formulas and are they really effective? Do you need a basic mouthwash or something that really fights bacteria and plaque buildup?

Today, there is a mouthwash for every type of concern: Fluoride, Cosmetic, Antiseptic, Natural, Total Care, even prescription…but which one is right for you? (Here’s a hint…ask Dr. Miller!) If you can’t wait until then, here is a little breakdown of what all these mouthwashes do.

Fluoride Mouthwashes

These mouthwashes strengthen teeth and can help fight against tooth decay with the ionic compound sodium fluoride.

Cosmetic Mouthwashes

These mouthwashes are usually used to freshen up your breath and fight halitosis (bad breath). They do not usually do a lot to protect against tooth decay.

vintage listerine

Antiseptic Mouthwashes

Antiseptic mouthwash contains chlorhexidine gluconate. What a mouthful! This chemical is most beneficial for people who have a mouth infection as it fights the growth of bacteria. These can help fight plaque, but by no means should you consider mouthwash to be a replacement for brushing or flossing!

Natural Mouthwashes

Are you a fan of popular natural brands like Tom’s or Jason mouthwash? These oral rinses are usually alcohol-free and also don’t contain fluoride. You can also make a homemade version of this using kosher salt and warm water.

Total Care Mouthwashes

This comprehensive mouthwash aims to reduce the build up of plaque and prevent gum disease.

As we said, your dentist or dental hygienist knows your oral health better than anyone, so make an appointment today for a checkup and cleaning, and ask us which mouthwash is right for you. Brushing, flossing, and swishing with mouthwash is the ultimate trifecta of oral health care, so don’t skip one just because you’re doing the other! Brushing and flossing are invaluable when it comes to at-home oral maintenance, and swishing with mouthwash could never replace either of these.

In addition to at-home care, you also need an annual teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Brushing at home cannot remove all the plaque from your teeth, which is why cleanings are so important.

Ready to make an appointment at Mission Hills Family Dental to get your mouth healthy and in tip-top shape? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online! We look forward to giving you a healthy and bright smile!