Should You Use Mouthwash?

Man with Mouthwash

The Answer is… Maybe!

Mouthwash, or mouth rinses, are primarily used to remove food debris after brushing and flossing. They provide a pleasant taste, freshen the breath, and (depending on the active ingredient) can also protect against plaque & bacteria, periodontal disease, and/or cavities.

So should everyone use mouthwash? Not exactly. Some people who use it will see only marginal benefits over brushing and flossing alone. Furthermore, repeated use of alcohol-based mouthwash can irritate soft tissue, damage the mucous membrane, and contribute to dry mouth (xerostomia).

Every mouth is different, so get a recommendation based on your individual needs by discussing mouthwash options with your dentist. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Benefits of Mouthwash

  • Helps remove food debris
  • Provides temporary relief of bad breath (halitosis)
  • May prevent buildup up of plaque and inhibit growth of bacteria
  • May prevent periodontal (gum) disease
  • Fluoridated options may prevent cavities

Side Effects

  • Provides only temporary relief from bad breath (3-4 hours)
  • Can mask the presence of periodontal disease
  • Alcohol-based rinses may irritate tissues & cause dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Alcohol-based rinses may also cause intoxication and/or injury if swallowed

About Dr. William J. Black

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the UCLA School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Black has 8 children, works actively with the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys gardening.


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