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Mouthwashes and the Benefits of Fluoride

A woman is holding a bottle of blue mouthwash in one hand and a cup with mouthwash in the other

For years the general public has been told to get an antibacterial mouthwash and swirl it around right after brushing to leave breath minty fresh and inviting. What the CDC, ADA, and Carolina Family Dental recommend is mouthwash...that contains fluoride. Alcohol alone will kill bacteria in the short run, but the more significant benefits of fluoride are stronger teeth, fewer cavities, and lessened sensitivity. Using alcohol-based solution can help with bad breath and temporarily stymy the bacteria that causes cavities, but a better mouthwash with added fluoride can do that same thing while also strengthening the teeth for the long run. 

To rinse the fluoride off of your newly-brushed teeth with a non-fluoride wash can do more harm than good. It’s the ol’ bait and swish. Who came up with this, the bacteria? We recommend using mouthwash between meals if brushing is not feasible. However, no swishing can replace the friction created when brushing, which physically removes food and some plague. Too much use of antiseptic mouthwashes can actually damage your enamel and gums. So there is a right time for non-fluorinated wash - occasionally between meals when brushing or flossing is not available - but fluorinated is best.

The use of fluoride has proven to aid teeth in reabsorbing calcium and phosphate, which then strengthens the armor-like enamel. Repairing teeth and protecting them are two great benefits of fluoride that are too good to pass up. While it’s not a quick fix, and certainly no substitute for brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning, rinsing with fluoridated wash can stop or delay cavities, reduce trips to the dentist office, and save some money. If the mouthwash companies were thinking clearly and not listening to the bacteria, they would claim that a “fluoride wash a day will keep the dentist away.” It’s not exactly true, but that’s never stopped them before. 

Somewhere between a deep scale cleaning by a dental hygienist with a fluoride varnish treatment at Carolina Family Dental and smashing gummy worms between your teeth right before bedtime is a whole spectrum of options for dental care. We would love the opportunity to discuss these options with you, including the benefits of fluoride. Our staff are experts who not only treat patients but educate them as well. So, contact us when you’re ready and we’ll work together to give you a happy, healthy mouth!

Okay, so we shouldn’t have mentioned gummy worms, because now you want some. But DON’T DO IT! Be strong!