- To help prevent or control tooth decay
- To freshen breath
- To reduce plaque (a sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contributes to decay and cavities)
- To prevent or reduce Gingivitis (an early form of gum disease)
- To reduce the speed that tartar (hardening plaque) builds up on teeth
- To produce a combination of any of the above effects
Most mouth washes do not require a prescription. Your dentist can help you determine whether you should use a mouth wash, and if so, recommend what kind you should use based on your oral health needs.
There are two main types of mouthwash:
- Therapeutic Mouth Washes These can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay. They also include those mouth washes that contain fluoride and prevent cavities.
- Cosmetic Mouth Washes These may temporarily relieve bad breath or unpleasant tastes, but do not kill the bacteria that causes bad breath, nor do they help reduce plaque, gingivitis, or tooth decay.
It is also important to remember that using a mouth wash does not replace your need to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. If you have a difficult time brushing and flossing, however, a therapeutic mouth wash may provide additional protection against cavities and tooth decay. When selecting a mouth wash, be sure to look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. ADA approved products have been specifically selected for their safety and effectiveness.