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How to choose the right mouth rinse

We’ve all been there. Walking down the aisle of the pharmacy and seeing one too many mouth rinses’ to choose from. They all promise to protect your teeth, make your pearly whites whiter, and make your breath the freshest it can be. So, how do you know which one is right for you?

There are three major categories of mouth rinses – fluoride mouth rinses, anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses, and cosmetic and therapeutic mouth rinse products.

Fluoride mouth rinses

You never stop needing fluoride, and the truth is most people don’t get enough. Did you know that 85% of all adults experience tooth decay? Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by helping your body strengthen your teeth enamel, which is the protective white layer that covers your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste can help with tooth decay, but fluoride toothpaste doesn’t help everyone.

Some fluoride toothpastes actually dry out the mouths of some consumers, so people with dry mouths might find a fluoride mouth rinse is a better fit for them. “Severe dry mouth can lead to a change in the bacterial balance of your mouth, while too much bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay,” says Michelle Henshaw, DDS, MPH and assistant dean for community partnerships and extramural affairs at Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. “Fluoride mouth rinses can help prevent these problems.”

If you are not using a fluoride toothpaste, you might want to start using a fluoride mouth rinse to see if you like it. Talk with your dentist if you have any questions.

Anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses

According to the American Dental Association, anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, antibacterial, antimicrobial or chemotherapeutic mouth rinses reduce bacterial count and inhibit bacterial activity that can cause gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease.

It is a good idea for adults to use this kind of mouth rinse. “Although brushing and flossing are the key components of good oral health, we don’t always do as good a job with these tasks as we should. Anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis mouth rinses can give a boost to your dental care habits by killing potentially damaging bacteria,” said Henshaw.

Mouth rinse to freshen your breath

Many mouth rinses are available for you that make your breath smell nice and fresh, however, they don’t offer any long-term dental health benefits.

Cosmetic mouth rinses may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave your mouth feeling nice and

fresh; however, they don’t deal with the underlying cause of why you have the bad breath. They don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath or chemically inactivate odor causing compounds. Also, none of the cosmetic mouth rinses helps reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.

If I can give you any advice when choosing a mouth rinse, its choose a mouth rinse product that has the ADA seal of approval. For a complete list of ADA approved mouth rinses click here.

The office of Dr. Shane McDowell is here to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have dealing with any oral health concerns you may be having. Please call 239-936-0597 or visit to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDowell and his excellent staff today.

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