We all know brushing and flossing are the non-negotiables to a healthy dental routine, butwhat about mouthwash? Mouthwash became popular in the late 1800’s, with Listerinelaunching their first mouthwash product in 1879. Since then, it’s become a common part ofdental routines around the globe, and is used for a range of treatments, from everydayhygiene to post-surgery care.
The history of mouthwash
Prior to the 1800’s, humans have been recorded for centuries trying to nail down a goodrecipe for a wash that targets and eliminates the smell of bad breath. Usually these earlyconcoctions contained ingredients like mint, vinegar and in some cases tortoise blood!
Common complaints of bad breath is what prompted Listerine, in 1879, to develop aneveryday mouth wash, as prior to this time their products were only commonly used as apost-surgery anti-bacterial mouthwash.
Since this development by Listerine, in the past century many other dental companies havebeen developing and launching a range of mouthwash products. There are now mouthwashoptions for sensitive teeth, anti-biotic purposes and as an option for your everyday dentalroutine.
Benefits of using mouthwash
Mouthwash can give you an extra clean as part of your daily dental routine. Many modernmouthwash products contain fluoride, which will help protect and strengthen your teeth.Anti-bacterial mouthwash can also assist in treating infection, or eliminating any badbacteria breeding within the mouth.
In line with its original purpose, mouthwash is a good way to treat bad breath. It can be aquick and easy way to clean your mouth and feel fresh. However, if you are experiencingchronic bad breath, this could be due to a more sinister underlying problem, and it’simportant to discuss this with your dentist.
When to use mouthwash
It’s important to note that mouthwash is not an alternative to brushing and flossing.Mouthwash is essentially a surface cleaner, and can help to eliminate some bacteria andgerms from the mouth, as well as improve bad breath, however it does not fully clean yourmouth. Brushing and flossing removes plaque and tartar build ups in the mouth and remainthe most important part of your daily routine.
If you choose to include mouthwash as a part of your daily routine, it is recommended tofloss your teeth first, to remove any plaque and tartar build up between the teeth. This willallow the mouthwash to be more effective in the small spaces within your mouth. Secondly,rinse and gargle mouthwash for 30-60 seconds, ensuring you’re gargling towards the back of the mouth to eliminate any bacteria hiding at the back of your tongue. Then brush yourteeth as per usual, for 2-3 minutes.
Your dentist may prescribe different types of mouthwash for treatment after surgery, or thetreatment of mouth ulcers and infections in the gums. These should only be used whenrequired and at the direction of your dentist.