07 5427 0880

Shop 9/1455 Brisbane Valley Highway,

Fernvale, Australia


Mouthwash Myths

As with all consumer products today, dental mouthwashes are not immune to marketing and promotion. Possibly as a result of this, we are commonly asked by patients which mouthwashes are better than others and whether or not they are required.

Mouthwashes are largely promoted as an addition to proper oral hygiene. The best oral hygiene we can recommend is brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush of any kind (manual or electric) together with something to clean between your teeth once a day (most commonly floss but includes alternatives such as flossettes and pixters). If this brushing and flossing regime is done correctly every day and combined with dental check ups, mouthwash is actually not recommended in daily oral hygiene.

The major dangers of mouthwash come in how they are used and what is in them. There has been a push lately by mouthwash brands alike to move away from using alcohol in mouthwashes. Alcohol was traditionally used in mouthwashes to help dissolve the active ingredients in mouthwash and could be as high as many high strength alcoholic spirits. The major drawback of this includes an increased risk of oral cancers if alcohol mouthwashes are used around the time of cigarette smoking and in patients with reduced saliva, smoking or not. Another downside to using mouthwashes is that it can give a false sense of security, with many people assuming that mouthwashes are a proper substitute to brushing and flossing – which they are not.

Mouthwashes do have a place in our bathroom cabinets in certain situations. In cases where some people may find it hard to physically brush and floss, for example if there is limited hand mobility or dexterity, mouthwashes can help flush out what is left in the mouth. Mouthwashes can also be used temporarily to help short term gum issues such as painfully swollen gums. In these cases a stronger mouthwash can be used, such as a chlorhexidine wash (ie. Savacol), but much care must be taken with these as long term use can cause a loss in taste and teeth staining. Mouthwashes do have a use in very specific cases, but we should not be reliant on them to substitute or replace the job of brushing and flossing daily.

In summary, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and regular dental check ups will keep your mouth, gums and teeth healthy, and mouthwashes can be used only to aid this cleaning pattern. If a mouthwash is used, it should be an alcohol free variety and in cases where correct brushing and flossing are not achievable or when there is a clinical need in which case mouthwashes should be used temporarily.

For any more information please contact Fernvale Dental on 5427 0880.

Dr Sang Ho

man with mouthwash