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Do you use mouthwash daily? Do you use it to freshen your breath throughout the day or to rinse after brushing? Have you ever wondered which one is the best? Well the answer is – It Depends… The typical mantra “all mouthwashes are the same” has been untrue for almost a century now. There are numerous choices available to the dental hygiene consumer and you may be surprised to know that many of the mouthwashes or rinsing agents out there have very specific uses and do not cover all of the bases you may be looking for in your mouthwash. Some washes or rinses are made purely to fight bad breath and have no cleaning or antibacterial agents at all. Others are privy to fighting plaque build up and some even use fluoride to help fight against cavities. Some contain up to 20% alcohol – as you may have noticed in a burning sensation – and some use other, more natural ingredients to avoid the addition of alcohol. In sum, the best mouthwash depends on the use you need it for.

First ask yourself if you want a mouthwash with alcohol. There are many reasons that you might be dissuaded. Many people find the burning irritation from the alcohol content too much to handle. This could be due to sensitive gums, low pain tolerance or having recently been through an invasive dental procedure. If any of these apply to you then there are a plethora of non-alcohol containing mouth washes and rinses to choose from. Some use natural ingredients such as aloe vera or chamomile. Another common ingredient in non-alcoholic mouthwashes is referred to as CPC or cetylpyridinium chloride. CPC is proven to adhere to the surface of germs and cause them to burst thus helping to prevent dangerous buildup without the need for a burning alcohol sensation. Another reason some people choose to stray away from the alcohol-containing mouthwashes is because of the risk of swallowing the wash. If you are buying a wash or rinse for the family it may be a smart decision to avoid the alcohol-containing washes in order to prevent any teens from experimenting dangerously. And of course recovering alcoholics have in some instances found that rinsing with an alcohol-containing mouthwash can lead to a relapse.

After deciding your alcohol preference then you need to decide if you’re looking for a simple breath enhancing wash or something more apt to fighting plaque build-up, cavities or gingivitis. Make sure to check the label for “fluoride rinse” if you need something more than just a breath saver. Remember, fluoride doesn’t remove plaque and none of these washes or rinses are made as an alternative to daily brushing and flossing. However, fluoride does help strengthen your teeth’s enamel and fight against some of the acids created by bacteria.

Finally, after choosing the type of mouthwash that’s right for you, you simply need to find one with a flavor that you enjoy. Then Rinse, Spit, and enjoy…

Brought to you by your favorite Alpharetta Dentist at SmileScapes!