Most of us have done it — we’re running late, don’t have time to brush our teeth, and reach for the mouthwash instead of the toothbrush for a quick swish and spit. But can a habit of using mouthwash instead of brushing affect your oral health? My dental office in Spokane has the answer.
Not Brushing is… Pretty Gross
Your mouth is exposed to a lot of food, acid, and bacteria throughout the day. If you bypass a brushing, all of it is left there to eat away at tooth enamel. And if it’s left to fester overnight, it can be even worse. Brushing twice and flossing once a day, every day, is the only recommended way to remove the dangerous debris and protect your mouth against decay, cavities, and even gum disease.
What Does Bad Breath Mean?
While there are times when it’s normal to experience bad breath, like following a garlic-packed dinner, eating a dish filled with onions, or after your morning coffee, you should not have bad breath all the time. Persistent bad breath is a clue that something in your mouth isn’t right. Quite often, bad breath indicates gum disease, which is serious and could lead to tooth loss and other whole-body problems including increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications with diabetes.
Mouthwash Is a Short-Term Fix
When mouthwash is used as an attempt to temporarily freshen breath, there is no problem. But brush as soon after as you can. And if breath isn’t fresh after a good brushing, it typically means it’s packed full of bacteria. Mouthwash doesn’t remove the sticky plaque and bacteria that only a good brushing and flossing can.
The More You Use It, The Worse It Is
Many mouthwashes contain at least some level of alcohol. Alcohol naturally dries your mouth and slows saliva production. Without saliva, bacteria isn’t rinsed away and the mouth becomes a place where it can thrive and eat away at enamel. If you need to use mouthwash as a replacement to brushing — even though we highly recommend you don’t — choose one that’s alcohol free and use it sparingly
If you notice chronically bad breath, don’t be embarrassed. My Spokane dental office is here to help. We’ll never judge you or lecture you. We will work with you determine the cause of your problem and discuss the best way to resolve it. Don’t put the health of your teeth, or your body, at risk. Give us a call today.