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A mouthful about mouth rinses

Using mouth rinse can help keep your breath fresh, prevent and control tooth decay, gingivitis and plaque. Since most mouth-rinses are available without a prescription, the decision on whether to add mouth-rinse to your daily oral care routine may be one of personal preference or a recommendation from our dentistry. Either way, we thought it was a great time to cover frequently asked questions and American Dental Association (ADA) details about mouth-rinses and their effectiveness.

One commonly asked mouthwash question we get asked at our dental practice here in Fort Myers is: “Does mouthwash expire?” The simple answer is yes. Mouthwash is typically labeled with an expiration date due to the product losing its effectiveness over time.

Next, basic ingredients in mouth rinse products include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients and coloring agents. Active ingredients in mouthwashes are placed in four main groups:

1. Antimicrobial agents – which act directly on oral bacteria to help decrease plaque and gingivitis, as well as control bad breath

2. Fluoride – helps to reduce tooth decay and preserve the tooth enamel from further decay

3. Astringent salts – serve to temporarily deodorize and mask bad breath

4. Odor neutralizers – chemically inactivate odor-causing compounds in your mouth

With so many mouth-rinses available on the market, if you decide to use mouth-rinse in your oral health routine, I would recommend that you look for a mouth-rinse with the ADA-accepted seal. The ADA Seal provides an assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Be sure to read the ingredients of each mouthrinse option as well. If you prefer to avoid alcohol ingredients, there are many natural alcohol-free options and even homemade DIY mouthwash recipes online.

Therapeutic mouth-rinses are also prescribed to patients who are experiencing gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, or oral malodor, bad breath.

Another question we get asked is: “What order should brushing, flossing or mouth-washing occur?” In truth, the sequence in which you accomplish each doesn’t really matter as long as you are performing a thorough routine.

Mouthwash does not replace the need to brush and floss, so always be sure to properly brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day to ensure the best possible oral health care routine.

We care about your daily oral health routine and look forward to continuing to serve you! For more information or to schedule an appointment with us, please visit our website at or call (239) 936-0597.

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