How Useful is a Mouthwash in Teeth Cleaning?

Is mouth wash effective on its own?

We have heard cases recently from a couple of patients who have been concerned that their children, who have now fled the nest, seem to be neglecting their teeth. It appears that there is a myth circulating on the Internet that simply using a mouthwash is sufficient to keep the teeth clean and free of plaque and decay.

To be clear about this, mouthwash can certainly be useful if used correctly. It is especially useful for freeing up those tiny bits of debris which have become stuck in places where a toothbrush or floss struggle to reach. Many mouthwashes also contain fluoride which is beneficial in preventing decay. What it will not do though is to dislodge all of the plaque or clean the teeth effectively. Somewhat ironically, certain ‘special’ mouthwashes actually react with toothpaste so it is highly advisable that you should not use these directly after you have cleaned your teeth. Please ask your dentist if you are unsure.

How You Should Clean Your Teeth

clean teeth and healthy gumsBy far the most effective method of cleaning your teeth is regular brushing. This should be done in the morning and the very last thing at night. Do not eat or drink anything after cleaning your teeth except water; doing so will mean that your teeth will be coated with food debris which will have approximately 8 hours in which to do its damage. Make sure also to replace your brush every 3 months or when it starts to feel soft if that is earlier. A soft brush is much less effective in removing plaque.

Flossing too is highly recommended as this enables you to get between the teeth in areas that brushes have difficulty in doing. Some people do find flossing difficult but there are a number of products on the market which help to make this easier. You can also ask a dentist at our Harley Street practice who may be able to advise you.

Professional Care

However well you clean your teeth, or think that you do, there is no excuse to not visit a dentist. There are often problems with a tooth simply because a certain area is almost impossible for a person to get at. The most common of these is at the very back of the rear teeth. This is an area often neglected and an area which does a lot of the work when food is eaten. A dentist or hygienist is likely to find a buildup of plaque in this area and can easily remove it before any damage is done. Failure to visit a dentist regularly is likely to lead to a buildup of plaque in this area which may cause decay or gum disease.

In fact, gum disease is one of the most likely occurrences if you fail to have regular dental check ups. Whilst it is easily treated in the early stages, if left for a period of time, it can have devastating effects not only on the teeth but on the bone structure in that area too. Tooth loss is entirely possible if the gum disease gets to an advanced stage. Accompanying loss of bone in the jaw also means that any attempt to replace using a dental implant may require bone grafting.

So, in summary, no, mouthwash is not enough on its own and you should brush and floss on a daily basis and visit your dentist at least every 6 months and more often if recommended by the dentist.

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