For fresh breath, many people reach for mouthwash. Unfortunately, there is a misconception that mouthwashes should be used every day as part of an oral care routine. Many people don’t read the label before use.
Traditional mouthwashes can contain lots of chemicals, alcohol, disinfectants, artificial colours and flavours. The rationale for using a mouthwash is to kill bacteria and mask bad breath however, even on many mouthwash labels it states that you should not use a mouthwash for more than 7 days. Why is that? A few of the reasons include:
- Mouthwashes that contain alcohol are dehydrating and when the mouth is dry, you produce more tartar
- Prolonged use leads to staining of the teeth
- Prolonged use leads to an alteration of taste sensation
- Mouthwashes claim to “kill 99% of germs”. However, they tend to work on the germs that are floating around the mouth, not the ones that are stuck within the biofilm which is a matrix of bacterial cells that covers all the surfaces of teeth. Even after about 20 minutes after brushing teeth, the biofilm reforms.
There are some mouthwashes that are recommended for use by dental professionals such as one containing chlorhexidiene, but this is only to be used if a patient has gum disease or severe infection. Mouthwashes should only be used for a short time.
There are other ways to ensure your mouth is fresh. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, chewing gum to stimulate saliva, practice good oral care and hygiene routines and drink Swirlit. Swirlit is NOT a mouthwash. Swirlit is a healthy drink option developed as a healthy alternative to sugary and acidic drinks, because it’s pH neutral and sugar free. Because of the special ingredients in Swirlit, it has the added bonus freshening the mouth and breath with xylitol, green tea extract, grapeseed extract and cinnamon. Drink it any time of the day for instant freshness.
Of course, if recommended by a dentist, use a medicated mouthwash, but remember: for no more than 7 days!