Your dentist or dental hygienist has advised you to use a mouthwash. For example, you have a number of starting holes (caries). Brushing the teeth is not very successful. Or, for example, you have bleeding gums or have just had a gum treatment. Of course you can also consider using a mouthwash. Many types are for sale at the pharmacy, the drugstore and the supermarket. The different flushing means have a different effect. The dentist or dental hygienist will advise you which you should use.
Rinsing, for whom and why?
Our daily oral hygiene consists of brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. In addition, your dentist or dental hygienist may advise you to clean the areas between your teeth and / or to rinse your mouth with a mouthwash. For example, if you wear braces or have too little saliva in your mouth, you run an increased risk of getting cavities (caries). Then brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is not enough. Your practitioner can then advise you to use a mouthwash with fluoride. After an extensive gum treatment, your practitioner may temporarily recommend a rinse aid with chlorhexidine. If you want to help maintain a healthy mouth and the condition of your gums or appreciate a fresh taste in your mouth, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Those who use mouthwashes also continue to brush their teeth twice a day.
Mouthwashes for cavities
Mouthwashes with fluoride strengthen the tooth enamel. They mainly advise dentists and dental hygienists to patients with an increased risk of cavities. Those who may need (temporarily) extra fluoride are, for example, children or adults with a fixed bracket, patients with abnormalities in enamel build-up or with starting holes. A fluoride flushing agent is also recommended for patients with sensitive teeth (when the gums have been withdrawn) and to prevent cavities in the tooth root (root caries). The rinsing agent is available at the pharmacy, the drugstore or the supermarket. Anyone who has to use a fluoride flushing agent temporarily should check with their practitioner whether he should continue or whether he can stop. Some examples are Listerine Strong Denture, Listerine Total Care, Elmex anti-caries mouthwash, ACT, Desensin. Drugstores and supermarkets also sell products under their own brand name.
Mouthwashes against inflammation and infections
Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine prevent plaque formation. You can generally use these rinsing agents briefly (usually 1 to 2 weeks). Using it can cause discoloration of your teeth and tongue, a bad taste and a burning sensation of the mucous membranes. Chlorhexidine rinsing agents can be prescribed by your practitioner after gum treatment or acute gum disease. Thereby, a hydrogen peroxide flush can be advised to prevent discolouration of the teeth and tongue. Chlorhexidine is also used to prevent mouth infections after surgery in the mouth. Patients who cannot spit or rinse or patients who only need to apply the rinse aid to a single location should use a chlorhexidine spray or gel. If you are considering using a chlorhexidine rinsing agent without a prescription, consult your dentist or dental hygienist. Some examples are PerioAid and Corsodyl.
Mouthwash against dental plaque
Mouthwashes with antibacterial properties can contribute to good oral hygiene. This type of rinse aid can help to reduce the development of dental plaque and improve the condition of the gums. These mouthwashes are also often used to get a fresh breath. Anyone who thinks you can use mouthwash and then no longer has to brush is wrong. These mouthwashes are also used as a supplement to daily mouth care. Rinsing is not a replacement for brushing your teeth! Some examples are Meridol, Listerine Coolmint and Cool Citrus.
Mouthwashes against bad breath
Bad breath is often caused by bacteria on the back of the tongue. They produce sulfur compounds and that smells unpleasant. You can scrape these bacteria out twice a day with a tongue cleaner. Does that work insufficiently? Then you can also kill the bacteria that cause bad breath with a gargle and / or a mouth spray. Examples are Halita and Meridol Halitoses.
Mouthwashes for dental erosion
Dental erosion is the dissolution of the tooth enamel by the action of acids from food and drinks or from the stomach. To prevent dental erosion, it is important not to eat or drink more than seven times a day and to brush your teeth twice with a fluoride toothpaste. In addition, dentists and dental hygienists advise not to use acidic products one hour before brushing their teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with a mouthwash to protect your teeth against dental erosion. An example is Elmex Erosion Protection.
Mouthwashes against a dry mouth
A dry mouth is caused by a shortage of saliva. For example, the salivary glands release too little saliva or no longer work at all. Many medicines have a dry mouth as a side effect. Diseases and radiation can also cause dry mouth. If your salivary glands no longer work, it is not possible to stimulate saliva production. If they still work a little, it often fails. So-called saliva substitutes may offer a solution. These are special wetting fluids or gels that can give a pleasant mouthfeel. Good examples are Good examples are Biotène mouthwash and Biotène OralBalance.
There are many different types of flushing agents available. One works against sensitive teeth and another gives a fresh breath. Many products offer excellent results, but their effect has never been scientifically proven. Of course you can check for yourself whether the product works for you, whether it benefits you or whether you appreciate the taste. Examples are Aquafresh, Sensodyne, Odol and various private labels of drug stores etc.
When should I flush and how often?
When you need to rinse strongly depends on the product you use. Consult the instructions on the package or in the package leaflet. It also contains information about how much mouthwash you should rinse, how long you have to rinse and how often. Does your dentist or dental hygienist advise you on the use of a flushing agent? Then follow that advice.
Fables and facts about flushing agents
Does everyone have to rinse?
No, not everyone needs a mouthwash. You take good care of your teeth by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. On the advice of your practitioner, you can also daily clean the spaces between your teeth with brushes, toothpicks, floss thread or mouth shower. In addition, your dentist or dental hygienist will indicate whether rinsing is necessary or advisable for you.
Can I improve my oral hygiene by using mouthwash? And if so how?
As an additional supplement to your daily oral hygiene, you can use a mouthwash to help reduce plaque development and improve gum condition.
You can of course also use a flushing agent because you like it. Your dentist or dental hygienist can advise you. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer's packaging.
Can I prevent cavities by using a mouthwash?
Gaps can be prevented by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. With the toothbrush you remove the plaque from your teeth and molars. With the toothpaste you apply fluoride to your teeth. Fluoride makes the tooth enamel harder and less susceptible to getting cavities. If you nevertheless get cavities, it may be advisable to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Rinsing the mouth is an addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, but does not replace brushing your teeth.
I use a flushing agent. Can I skip brushing my teeth now?
No! The use of a mouthwash is always an addition to the two daily brushings. Do you have to rinse with water after eating? Which can. By rinsing with water after eating, you wash away the food in your mouth. Naturally, by rinsing with water, you do not apply any substances to protect your teeth.
Can I use a rinse aid for a fresh taste?
Yes, by using rinsing agents you get a fresh taste in your mouth. But a fresh taste does not mean that you have a fresh breath. The refreshment of your mouth can only partially cover up bad breath (halitosis) and usually only for a few minutes.
Do I have to spit out a rinse aid alone or should I also rinse my mouth with water afterwards?
For proper use of the flushing agents you must read the package leaflet or follow the advice of your dentist or dental hygienist. In general it is not desirable to rinse with water.
Can I use a mouthwash with alcohol?
Adults can use a mouthwash with alcohol. Adding alcohol to mouthwash is a concern for some in connection with an alleged relationship with the occurrence of cancer in the mouth. In research, no relationships were found between the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes and the development of mouth cancer. It is up to the user to decide whether or not to use an alcoholic mouthwash. Consult with your practitioner if desired.
Do you want to know for sure if a mouthwash is useful for you? Then consult with your dentist or dental hygienist before you start taking the medicine.