59 Mouthwash Facts: Learn About Its Benefits For Oral Health | Kidadl


59 Mouthwash Facts: Learn About Its Benefits For Oral Health

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While you should brush and floss your teeth every day as part of your oral hygiene routine, you may also consider using mouthwash.

Mouthwash can brighten your smile, freshen your breath, and keep your gums healthy. While the majority of the US population uses mouthwash as part of their daily dental hygiene routine, they don't know much about it other than that it comes in a variety of colors and tastes.

Whether you use mouthwash to fight bad breath or to prevent tooth decay, there are a few more things you should know about mouthwash. Read on to learn everything there is to know about mouthwash and its multiple benefits.

Invention And History Of Mouthwash

Mouthwash, known by many names like a mouth rinse, mouth bath, and oral rinse, is a liquid-based oral care product commonly used to clean the teeth, tongue, and oral tissues. It is also used to reduce bad breath and dental plaque. Mouth rinsing, believe it or not, has been a common practice for years and has been used for treating several oral health issues.

Mouth rinsing was first documented in ancient Indian Ayurveda. It was employed in the treatment of gingivitis.

Edible oils were utilized as mouthwashes in ancient Ayurvedic treatment.

Mouth rinsing became popular among the elite classes of society during ancient Greek and Roman times.

Hippocrates, a Greek physician, suggested rinsing the mouth with a combination of salt, vinegar, and alum to improve oral health.

Around 1,800 years ago, the Jewish Talmud proposed a cure for gum disease by using dough water and olive oil.

Native North Americans used plant-based mouthwashes to cure sore throats and mouth ulcers.

A 17th-century microscopist, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, conducted an experiment by using mouthwashes containing vinegar and brandy for plaque control. However, the study did not produce the intended outcomes.

Dr. Lawrence invented Listerine, a mouthwash used to clean teeth and sterilize surgical incisions, in 1879.

Listerine was the first prescription mouthwash to be marketed over the counter in the United States in 1914.

Listerine coined the term 'halitosis' to describe bad breath in the '20s. Chronic bad breath, also called halitosis, can still afflict people. However, bad breath is not usually a long-term issue. Mouthwash can reduce bad breath but not treat it permanently.

In the United States, the number of mouthwash varieties has increased from 15 in 1970 to 113 in 2012.

Ingredients Of Mouthwash

Primarily, there are two types of mouthwashes. While cosmetic mouthwashes are meant to treat bad breath and leave the mouth with a pleasant flavor, therapeutic mouthwashes reduce the microbial load in the mouth and treat problems like gingivitis and dry mouth. Before buying any mouthwash, it is critical to visit a dentist to understand which one is best for you by reviewing its ingredients and learning its impact on oral health.

Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, not to kill bacteria but to act as a carrier for vital active ingredients like menthol and thymol, which help in plaque penetration.

Benzydamine mouthwashes are used to relieve discomfort in painful oral disorders.

Betamethasone is used to treat severe inflammatory disorders of the oral mucosa.

Mouthwash containing cetylpyridinium chloride has lower anti-plaque efficacy and may produce tooth staining or an oral burning sensation.

Anti-cavity mouthwashes use sodium fluoride to prevent tooth decay. 

Flavoring agents like sodium saccharin are used to restore the mouth to a neutral level of acidity.

Xylitol is used as a substitute for alcohol to avoid dry mouth.

Hydrogen peroxide is used in mouthwashes as it kills anaerobic bacteria. 

To lower the quantities of oral bacteria, enzymes and non-enzymatic proteins such as lysozyme and lactoferrin have been added in mouthwashes.

Oral lidocaine is effective in treating mucous membrane inflammation caused by radiation or chemotherapy.

Methyl salicylate is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, flavoring, and scent agent. It contains anti-plaque properties and does not discolor teeth.

To reduce sensitivity, use potassium oxalate mouthwash in tandem with tooth brushing.

Mouthwashes containing sanguinarine are advertised as anti-plaque and anti-malodor therapies.

To make a homemade mouthwash, add sodium bicarbonate and salt.

To make a saltwater mouthwash, dissolve half or a full teaspoon of salt in a cup of boiling water. Saline has both mechanical cleansing and antiseptic properties. This can also help alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat.

Many types of mouthwash contain sodium lauryl sulfate as a foaming ingredient.

Tetracycline is a well-known antibiotic that can be used as a mouthwash in adults but not in children since it can cause red discoloration of the teeth.

Zinc chloride is an astringent that has a good taste and shrinks tissues.

Other ingredients used in mouthwashes are benzoic acid, nystatin, and triclosan.

Mouthwashes often contain a high concentration of alcohol and fluoride. Both of these should not be consumed in large quantities, especially by kids. That is why dentists do not advise children under six years to use mouthwash.

Alcohol is not required for a bacteria-killing mouthwash. Several brands produce alcohol-free mouthwash that is gentler on the tongue, gums, and mouth.

Menthol is also not a necessary element of mouthwash. 

Mouthwash is often used with tooth brushing and flossing to improve oral health.

Benefits Of Mouthwash

Mouthwashes have several benefits that can help you in maintaining your oral health like reducing bad breath, preventing plaque and cavities, and treating gingivitis. To use mouthwash, brush your teeth, follow the directions on your mouthwash to correctly measure out the mouthwash, gargle, or swish for 20-30 seconds but do not swallow the rinse, and then spit.

Mouthwash helps to reduce bad breath but is not a permanent cure for it. It must not be considered a substitute for brushing.

Mouthwashes kill bacteria and prevent tooth decay. If tooth decay is not treated in time, it can cause gum disease and infections.

Fluoride rinse strengthens the enamel and demineralizes the teeth.

Mouthwash is a great supplement to your oral care routine, but it cannot replace tooth brushing and flossing.

Mouth rinse helps to keep tooth plaque at bay and improve oral health.

Mouthwashes can also be used by pregnant women to treat gum disease and prevent tooth decay.

Prescription-strength mouth rinses are a type of mouthwash used to treat gingivitis and gum disease.

Mouth rinse can also be used to disinfect braces and dental prostheses because it removes all of the harmful bacteria that might be present in oral appliances.

Mouthwashes that contain hydrogen peroxide can help in whitening teeth.

Mouthwash can effectively remove food particles and debris that remain in the mouth even after brushing and flossing.

Most mouthwash brands recommend using mouthwash twice a day after brushing and flossing. However, it is not necessary to use it every day.

Purely alcohol-based mouthwash is insufficient for persons who suffer from gingivitis. To select the best mouthwash for your condition, you should consult a dentist.

Fluoride rinse helps to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.

Antibacterial mouthwash eliminates plaque from the teeth, which helps in the prevention of gum disease.

Cosmetic mouthwash is used to freshen the breath and, in some cases, to whiten the teeth.

Abstain from having drinks and food for 30 minutes after using a mouthwash to maximize the cleansing effects.

Amount And pH Level Of Mouthwash

To understand how mouthwashes work, it is important to understand the pH levels of the mouth and the mouth rinses.

At a pH of 5.5, the calcium in the outer white layer of your teeth, known as tooth enamel, dissolves.

Most popular mouthwashes, such as Listerine and Crest Pro-Health, have a pH of 5.5 or lower.

The pH balance of the mouth is upset when people use an acidic mouthwash to eradicate all oral bacteria. This can lead to cavities.

People often experience a burning sensation in their mouths while using oral rinse because taste buds are more sensitive to the taste and feel of alcohol than other sections of the mouth.

In general, mouthwash stains teeth in a small percentage of persons. The majority of tooth stains are caused by lifestyle variables. 

If you mistakenly gulp down a mouthful of mouthwash, you may have slight stomach discomfort. However, if the pain is severe, visit a dentist.

When looking for a safe and effective mouthwash, look for mouthwash brands that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Parents should be mindful that mouthwash is only safe for children aged six and up. 

Youngsters should rinse only under the supervision of an adult until they are about 12 years old.

If you have a sensitivity to mouthwash or if it feels too powerful, dilute it 1:1 with water.

Written By
Lydia Samson

<p>A diligent and driven mass communications graduate from Caleb University, Lydia has experience in media and a passion for digital marketing and communications. She is an effective communicator and team-builder with strong analytical, management, and organizational skills. She is a self-starter with a positive, can-do attitude.</p>

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