From The Experts at London Smile Care: Susan Answers Your Questions About Mouthwash

By February 29, 2016 No Comments



Are there different types of mouthwashes that serve different purposes?  If so, what are they & what purposes do they serve?

There are so many mouthwashes on the market it can be quite confusing.  The main thing to consider is why you are looking to use a mouthwash.

Is it just to refresh your breath during the day or to add to your oral hygiene regime because you think you should?  Do  you have a specific concern that is prompting to you look along the mouthwash aisle in the shop? For example gum inflammation, soreness, gums which bleed when cleaning or eating? Tooth sensitivity? Bad breath? Mouth ulcers?

There are a growing number of therapeutic mouthwashes that are aimed at a range of dental concerns.


What’s the difference between cosmetic & a therapeutic mouthwashes?

Dental cosmetic mouthwashes are simply mouthwashes that will refresh but generally have little or no therapeutic properties.  These are fine to use to refresh your breath during the day after eating at work or home but will literally do just this for a short period of time.  If you feel that you have persistent bad breath, then you should book to see us to investigate for any underyling problems that could be causing your bad breath, ie decay, gum disease, infection.

Therapeutic mouthwashes, on the other hand, contain ingredients that are known to aid with certain dental concerns.  These active ingredients are formulated to remain working in the mouth for a prolonged period of time. They can help reduce plaque bacteria formation, gum inflammation & decay.


Who needs to use a mouthwash?

We may recommend specific mouthwashes to be used to assist in the treatment of certain oral conditions for a period of time.

If you notice you have persistent halitosis, [bad breath], your gums bleed when you clean/eat, or if you suffer with regular or persistent ulcers or gum/mouth sores, we strongly recommend you book to see us to help establish what is causing these problems to arise & help advise you how on the best way to deal with.


Should I brush, floss or rinse first?

It stands to reason that if your teeth are thoroughly cleaned first then any beneficial ingredients in a mouthwash have a better chance of reaching the tooth surfaces.

For this reason I would always recommend that you brush well, [at least 2 minutes], clean between your teeth thoroughly with either floss or interdental brushes before you use a mouthwash.

To gain maximum benefit rinse for a good 30 seconds, working the liquid vigorously between the teeth. Not only will this ensure the product reaches all surfaces, but will also give your facial muscles a work-out too;)!!


How does a mouthwash get the British Dental Health Foundation [BDHF], seal of approval?

The BDHF is a charity dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of oral health internationally.  It has given its seal of approval to a range of oral hygiene devices which, in its opinion, believes the claims made by the manufacturers of these products, stack up.  Ie – they do what they say & are proven to do what they say if used in the recommended way.

What ingredients are commonly found in mouthwashes?

The list can be pretty long but some ingredients you will commonly find are:

Water, [aqua], alcohol, agents to aid cleansing, flavourings & colourings.

Some contain specific antmicrobial agents to help control bacterial plaque formation & to aid healing; Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Cetylpyridinium Chloride [CPC], Hydrogen Peroxide & Triclosan are the most widely used.

Fluoride – which can help reduce early decay lesions & strengthen to tooth against decay developing.


A couple of points to note:

Some of these ingredients, whilst effective anti-plaque & anti-fungal agents, can with regular use, cause dark stains to form on the teeth which will not reduce with normal home cleaning & will require professional removal by your Dental Hygienist or Cosmetic Dentist.

Alcohol in mouthwash is becoming a contentious subject due to the growing concern about its effect on the oral tissues & oral cancer.  If this is something that concerns you look for a mouth wash that is alcohol-free.


Thank you for your trust in our London Smile Care!




Image by jchwhite used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.



The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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About London Smile Care

We are proud to provide the widest possible choice of private dentistry to our clients including: General Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening, Dental Implants, Hygienist services / treating gum disease, Root Canal Treatments (Endodontics), Conventional and invisible Braces (Orthodontics), Occlusion / TMJ disorders, Sedation for the anxious patients

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