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Is Mouthwash Effective? Should I Consider an Alternative?

At our dental office in Cincinnati, we tell you to brush. We tell you to floss. We hope you’ll do it. We know you’re doing your very best.

But do you really need to rinse with mouthwash too? What is the point? Does it have any benefits?

The short answer is YES! Because it’s a liquid, mouthwash has the unique ability to access all areas of your mouth, places a brush and even floss cannot. This includes the roof of your mouth, your tongue, in between your teeth, and all through those back teeth floss rarely sees. Mouthwash destroys bacteria — the stuff that causes plaque and bad breath.

Can It Be Overused?

The catch is that most mouthwashes contain alcohol or fluoride, neither of which is good for you in large amounts. Alcohol has a drying property that can cause areas of your mouth to become overly dry and crack. It can also harm your cheeks, tongue, and gums if overused. Mouthwash in alcohol can also pose a problem for recovering alcoholics.

Though fluoride can be beneficial to the teeth, it too can be destructive to other parts of the body if overused. We recommend using mouthwash no more than once a day after brushing, either in the morning or at night.

Alternatives to Mouthwash

There are a few natural alternatives to alcohol or fluoride mouthwashes. You could try rinsing with salt water, though no more than 3 to 4 times per week. Rinsing with tea tree oil such as what’s found in the Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash can also be beneficial. Another great alternative is TheraNeem Mouthwash, which uses natural extracts from Neem bark, Neem leaf, and clove oil.

You can also make your own effective natural mouthwash by mixing water and baking soda

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