Mouthwash may be an integral part of your morning and evening brushing routine. There are benefits to this, but it is important to know that mouthwash cannot substitute for flossing. That is not what the product is intended for, nor is it able to provide the same protection.
Benefits of Mouthwash
There are two types of mouthwash. Some are “cosmetic,” formulated to give the mouth a pleasant taste and the breath a nice, minty freshness. This type of mouthwash has no bacteria-killing properties.
Clinical mouthwash products have ingredients that will kill bacteria. Some may also contain fluoride. The objective of this type of mouthwash is to protect oral health by inhibiting plaque buildup. The presence of antimicrobial agents also minimizes the risk of gingivitis.
Doesn’t Flossing do the Same Thing?
Flossing is recommended as a plaque-inhibiting activity. So why not just use mouthwash with therapeutic properties? It is certainly easier than running a string through every tooth each day. The thing is, flossing is a mechanical action against bacteria and the invisible film of plaque that holds them. Because toothbrush bristles cannot reach in between teeth, floss is the most appropriate tool for the job. The contact that is made with the tooth is more successful than simply swishing mouthwash around the mouth for a few seconds.
Flossing is not as Difficult as it Seems
Most people are quite good at remembering to brush their teeth every morning and every night before bed. Not so many are that good at spending the extra couple of minutes it takes to clean in between their teeth, though. Flossing doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and it need not be unpleasant in the least. Floss comes in waxed and unwaxed types, and some products are even flavored to leave a nice taste in the mouth. If the string of floss is the problem, consider using a disposable flossing tool in which the floss is held tightly between two prongs.
Our objective is to help you avoid the ravages of plaque and bacterial infection in the mouth. During your next visit to our Grayslake family dentistry office, talk with us about your flossing practice. We’re happy to demonstrate techniques and work with you to improve this aspect of your hygiene.