Is it good to use mouthwash regularly or not?

Patients frequently ask their dentists about the benefits of using a mouthwash regularly. However, there is no single, concrete answer to this question. Many dentists believe that a mouthwash is a good addition to your oral hygiene routine, and prevents teeth cavities and dental infections. On the other hand, other dentists are of the view that regularly using a mouthwash does more harm than good. So which advice should you follow? As a general life rule, excess of anything is always bad. Use in moderation.

The benefit, or harm, of using a mouthwash regularly depends on its intended use and composition. Therefore, it is better to understand different types of mouthwashes that are available in market. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are two types of mouthwashes, cosmetic and therapeutic.

Cosmetic Mouthwashes

These are flavored and aromatic mouthwashes that are designed to mask bad breath, and do not contain any chemical or active ingredient. Therefore they only provide temporarily relief at best. Cosmetic mouthwashes should not be used regularly for long periods, and they are not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing. Rather, treatment of bad breath should be sought by consulting a dentist or physician (if there is a medical cause). However, if you use a mouthwash daily just as an added protection against dental problem, then you have nothing to worry about.

Cosmetic mouthwashes are easily available at markets and pharmacies, and do not require a prescription from a dentist. One small note: make sure you buy a mouthwash which contains the official seal of acceptance of the American Dental Association.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes

These mouthwashes contain active ingredients that are useful in preventing teeth cavities, plaque deposition, and gum problems. These mouthwashes are mostly prescribed by dentists in case of an underlying dental problem, such as an increased incidence of teeth cavities or periodontal infections. Therapeutic mouthwashes are prescribed for a limited time, and shouldn’t be used for prolonged durations.

Therapeutic mouthwashes are available both as over-the-counter, and on prescription. Therefore, it is essential that you should always follow your dentist’s advice regarding the frequency and duration of use of these mouthwashes.

Despite the benefits of using mouthwashes, they should never be taken as an alternative to regular toothbrushing and flossing. They can, at best, be described as an extra measure for maintaining healthy oral hygiene. If you want to add a mouthwash into your daily oral hygiene routine, use in moderation.