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From an early age we are quickly institutionalised into the age-old routine of brushing our teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. To this day, this regime remains the basic pillar of general oral health. Now add mouthwash into the mix and you will find it difficult to come by someone with the exact same routine as you! Furthermore, its hard to get a solid answer from anyone when asking about mouthwash use whether it be a friend or your dentist.
Early 2018 gave rise to many main stream media reports about mouthwash being linked to an increase in oral cancer which caused a lot of confusion and complete abandonment of mouthwash for some regular users. Controversy around alcohol content in mouthwash also spiked this year but was quickly alleviated by the upsurge of alcohol-free mouthwash that promises the same efficacy.
Depending on your dentist or hygienist you may get mixed information regarding the use of mouthwash and of course it is all relative to how committed you are to oral health and also to what your current oral health status is ie. do you have gum disease? need whitening? or just wish to freshen your breath and keep your teeth strong? There is a mouthwash for everything! At FACEmed we’ve done the research for you in the hope that we can provide clarity and reassurance when it comes to mouthwash.
The British Dental Association surprisingly have very little to say about commercial mouthwash use except that certain mouthwashes have proven to provide additional benefit with regard to plaque and associated dental diseases. They advise use as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
The National Health Service advises that using a mouthwash containing fluoride can help prevent tooth decay but also advises against using it just after brushing as it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. They recommend use after lunch.
With regard to the mouthwash link with oral cancer, the National Health Service reviewed the reports and concluded that the link was not clear enough and that there is no certainty or credible evidence that mouthwash ‘can give you cancer’. The research results do however suggest a link between poor dental hygiene overall and oral cancers.
In summary, for optimal oral health, we recommend brushing and flossing day and night combined with a swig of mouthwash after lunch and dinner. Of course, regular dentist and hygienist visits go without saying!
Image: Marco Verch