Minty freshness to start the day–how could you say no? Most of us love the kick that comes with a swig of mouthwash, and it certainly has its benefits. However, many alcohol-based mouthwashes come with some side effects that might not be as great as you’d hoped. Here are some common pros and cons of using the average mouthwash from the drugstore shelf.
- Pro: Fewer Cavities– Dental health experts agree here, fluoride in mouthwash will absolutely help cut down on cavities. There are countless studies that indicate that fluoride will prevent the demineralization of teeth and cavities.
- Con: Masks Bad Breath–It seems like such a quick fix, but that might actually be the problem. While mouthwash can lead to fresh breath, the effects can be short-lived. Mouthwash should be used in conjunction with regular oral hygiene habits, and not as a substitute. That would be like never taking a bath and only using deodorant to stay clean!
- Pro: Soothes Canker Sores–To help detox the area of a canker sore, a good mouthwash cleans a sore and promote healing. Be careful, though, some high-alcohol washes will irritate the area more.
- Con: May Lead to Oral Cancer–While the jury is still out on this one, the debate continues. Alcohol-based mouthwashes have been linked to oral cancer cases since the 1970s, but there has been no definitive correlation one way or another. That said, the American Dental Association has put its seal of approval on alcohol-based mouthwashes after doing extensive research on their safety and effectiveness.
- Pro: Fight Gum Disease–Diseases like gingivitis can inflame gums and cause irritation due to plaque from leftover food stuck below the gum line. An antibacterial mouthwash will help prevent irritation and infection by rinsing the area well and soothing the mouth.
- Con: Negative Effect on Taste Buds–In some cases, prolonged use of a mouthwash can mess with your taste buds, and ultimately lead to loss of taste altogether. Admittedly, these circumstances are rare and specialized, but it is important to keep in mind when picking a mouthwash–check the reviews first!
Everyone’s oral health is different, and what happens to your friend with a specific mouthwash may not be the same as what happens to you. If you still have questions or concerns, ask your specialist for more information during your next visit.