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Once in awhile the food you eat may linger on on your breath, and that may make things a little awkward around the office after lunch. Or, you may want to add something extra to your oral hygiene regimen. In both of those cases, mouthwash can be a great addition to brushing and flossing.

Although there are endless brands and flavors of mouthwash, there are essentially two kinds. A cosmetic mouthwash will freshen your breath and leave a nice taste in your mouth, but it has no medicinal value. By contrast, a therapeutic mouthwash contains ingredients designed to kill the bacteria in your mouth, fight cavities, plaque, tartar and gum disease. If you suffer from a particular problem, your dentist may provide you with a prescription mouthwash. For a mouthwash to be effective, most brands recommend that you rinse for thirty seconds.

If you suffer from dry mouth, you should avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol, since they can make your problem worse. When selecting a mouthwash, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. That seal indicates that the product meets the ADA’s standards for safety and effectiveness. Children under the age of six should not be given mouthwash, since they may not understand the need spit it out, and they can become ill if they swallow it. They can become sick and even intoxicated if the mouthwash contains alcohol.

Remember: you can use mouthwash as a temporary fix for bad breath, or for those times that you don’t have a toothbrush; but no matter what mouthwash you use, it is not a replacement for brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist on a regular basis.

If you have questions about your oral health, you are experiencing problem with your mouth or teeth, or if it is just time for your regular cleaning and exam, our dentist, Der. Aaron Wilkins will be happy to visit with you. To make an appointment at Stones Crossing Dentistry in Greenwood, Indiana, call 317.535.3940 for an appointment today.