Is Mouthwash an Effective Cure for Dental Disease?
Dr. Stephen Dunstone gives a dentist’s opinion on how incorporating mouthwash into your daily routine could benefit your dental health.
Your teeth are more important than you may realise. Once lost to dental disease, you have limited options to replace them. Without teeth in your jaw, the bone in your mouth can start to resorb, or shrink. This would give your mouth a sunken or rolled-in appearance and you’ll start to lose the support of facial muscles, as well.
So not only do you need teeth for eating, but you need them to give your smile its shape.
Can mouthwash help you ward off dental disease and preserve those pearly whites?
The Nature of Dental Disease
Your mouth contains a complex combination of bacteria that’s unique to you. Some bacteria are prone to causing tooth decay while others are known to trigger gum inflammation. Gum disease and cavities are both threats to healthy teeth.
Everyone has these kinds of bacteria in their mouths. The key is simply keeping the populations under control so that they don’t lead to the problems resulting in tooth loss.
There are two primary ways to control the bacterial count in your mouth:
- Mechanical bacterial removal
- Chemical bacterial removal
Mechanical, or physical, disruption of bacteria is the most effective means. This is why we dental professionals recommend flossing daily and brushing at least twice a day.
Where does mouthwash come into play?
Using Mouthwash to Fight Dental Disease
A mouthwash with antibacterial properties can inhibit the development of new bacterial colonies. It’s important to note that using a mouthwash alone is not going to simply kill all the bacteria at once. These germs hide out between teeth and under the gums where a rinse may not reach.
On top of this, bacteria secrete a protective slime layer that a mouthwash can’t always penetrate. That’s why the physical removal of bacteria is so much more effective.
Some kinds of rinses contain fluoride, a mineral which strengthens teeth against cavities.
Adding a mouthwash into your routine is a great way to prevent dental disease. Try brushing and flossing before you shower and then swish a rinse while you shower to save time.
Does Mouthwash Actually Cure Dental Disease?
Once your teeth or gums show signs of advancing disease, it’s too late for a rinse to simply reverse those effects. Using your mouthwash will help you avoid further damage, but once disease sets in, it’s time to see a dentist.