09 Apr

City of London dentist exposes myth about mouthwash

Many people’s answer to dealing with bad breath is to reach for the nearest bottle of mouthwash and gargle away. Although many people think that mouthwashes are effective against bad breath, the truth is that they only mask the smell of the breath but don’t actually address the cause of the problem.
Tests found that mouthwashes were effective at disguising the odour from anything from ten minutes to two hours but then the smell would return. Mouthwashes undoubtedly kill bacteria, but they also destabilise the natural production of saliva. As saliva is the body’s natural defence against bad breath, this can mean that the mouthwash is actually prolonging the problem.
The real key to eliminating bad breath is by more effective brushing and flossing. This not only removes plaque and bacteria, but also the food particles on which they thrive. This keeps bacteria levels low so they can easily be controlled by saliva.
Mouthwashes can be effective for controlling bacteria in certain situations. This is especially true after certain dental procedures that can be susceptible to post-surgical infection. However, your City of London dentist will tell you when this is necessary. Mouthwashes certainly still have their place in the fight against decay and disease, but you must remember that they are no substitute for good oral hygiene. A good mouthwash can be used as an addition to an effective brushing and flossing routine but not as a substitute for it. Ask your dentist for more details of when it is appropriate to use mouthwash and which particular brand would be most suitable for your teeth.