It used to be that there were only two or three brands of mouthwash to choose from. But consumers strolling down the drugstore aisle are now confronted with dozens of different types of mouthwashes in a wide variety of colors and flavors.
Using mouthwash is an important part of good oral hygiene, along with brushing and flossing daily. Mouth wash helps remove many types of bacteria that can create plaque on the surfaces of your teeth, beneath the gums, and between teeth. It kills bad bacteria in the areas of your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Mouth wash also reduces your chances of developing gum disease. It also can help strengthen your teeth, not to mention freshening your breath.
Short of tasting and trying out every type of mouth wash on the market, how can you narrow your search down to find the right mouthwash for you? Here are a few simple tips.
Stick with What You Know
If there’s a particular brand of mouthwash that you have been using since you were a child, you like it, and you are satisfied with how it keeps your breath clean and fresh, why change?
Name brand mouth washes can often cost a little more than lesser known brands, but the security of knowing what you are getting is often worth it. If you are cost-sensitive, stock up during sales or pay attention to coupons. The manufacturers of oral care products will frequently pepper the marketplace with coupons in order to attract new customers.
Look for Fluoride
Fluoride is a compound that helps prevent toothy decay and strengthens your teeth’s natural enamel. It’s usually found in toothpastes and is even put into many metro water supplies. When you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office, the dental hygienist often will apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth as well.
There also are an increasing number of mouth washes that now feature fluoride. But are they necessary?
The answer is “not usually”. You get plenty of fluoride from other sources. But people with conditions such as xerostomia – an abnormal drying if the mouth – can benefit from getting additional fluoride in their mouth wash.
Find a Flavor You Enjoy
A few decades ago, most mouth washes featured an unpleasant medicinal taste. That’s because the manufacturers of these products hadn’t yet figured out how to mask the unpleasant flavors of the active ingredients, so consumers were forced to deal with their products’ bad flavors in exchange for protection against bad breath.
This isn’t the case anymore. Today, there are many different flavors of mouth wash that go beyond the traditional spearmint or peppermint. Find a flavor you like by trying different brands of mouthwash in the smallest size container offered.
Some mouth washes even come in a trial size or a travel size. This allows you to test out the mouth wash to see if you like the flavor without investing in a supply that could last you several months.
Do You Have Any Special Requirements?
Most commercial mouth washes will provide adequate protection against bad breath, tooth decay, and the buildup of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. But some people have special needs that can’t be met by regular mouth washes and need something more.
If you suffer from a condition that causes you to have faster than normal plaque buildup, if you follow a poor diet that accelerates the growth of bacteria on your teeth and gums, or have other special requirements, you may need a special type of mouth wash that provides this additional protection.
Ask your dentist to recommend a stronger, more aggressive mouth wash if you fall into one of these categories.
Look for the ADA Seal of Approval
The American Dental Association is an industry group dedicated to the oral health of everybody in the US. The ADA uses an independent scientific laboratory to test various types of products – including mouth washes – to make sure they adhere to their strict requirements.
Those that are approved by the ADA feature the organization’s seal on their products. If you find the ADA seal of approval, it’s an indication of a superior product that will provide you with the oral health protection you need.
Beware of Marketing Tricks
Some terms used by manufacturers are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies. But others are not, including such terms as “all-natural”, “planet friendly” and other unsubstantiated, meaningless marketing terms.
Unless they can be backed up with proven scientific facts, be wary of any claims from mouth wash makers that sound bombastic, overblown or might be too good to be true. There is a lot of competition in the mouth wash industry, so some companies will say practically anything to get you to choose their product over everybody else’s.
Author Bio – George Best, the author of this article writes in support of Thantakit International Dental Center, Thailand specializing in dental implants and cosmetic dental work.