Mouthwash or mouth rinse is a chemotherapeutic agent used as an effective home care dental materials by the patient to enhance oral hygiene. Some manufacturers of mouthwash claim that antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinse kill the bacterial plaque causing cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Anti-cavity mouth rinse uses fluoride to protect against tooth decay. It is, however, generally agreed that the use of mouthwash does not eliminate the need for both brushing and flossing. As per the American Dental Association, regular brushing and proper flossing are enough in most cases although the ADA has placed its Seal of Approval on many mouthwashes that do not contain alcohol (in addition to regular dental check-ups).
Anthropologic evidence suggests that many ancient cultures practiced regular oral hygiene. In fact, researchers have found recipes for teeth-cleaning and breath-freshening preparations that date to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, and Roman cultures. The ingredients have included materials such as charcoal, fruit and dried flowers, but there's no credible evidence about effectiveness of these products.
Oral care products as we know them first appeared on the scene when toothpaste was developed in the 1800s. Mouthwash was first mass-produced commercially in the late 1800s. Most of the early brands of mouthwash contained alcohol to stabilize the formula, but today alternative products provide germ-killing properties without needing alcohol stabilitization, such as cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC). CPC is found in many healthcare products; the germ fighting ability depends upon the formula, with some products being effective for killing germs that cause both plaque and gingivitis. CPC is used in Crest's Pro-Health Rinse.
Common use involves rinsing the mouth with about 20ml (2/3 fl oz) of mouthwash two times a day after brushing. The wash is typically swished or gargled for about half a minute and then spat out. In some brands, the expectorate is stained, so that one can see the bacteria and debris. Some may suggest that it is probably advisable to use mouthwash at least an hour after brushing with toothpaste when the toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate, since the anionic compounds in the SLS toothpaste can deactivate cationic agents present in the mouthrinse. However, many would disagree with this hypothesis; in fact, many of the popular mouthwashes contain sodium lauryl sulfate as an ingredient.
When you use it, don't swallow mouthwash, as it generally contains alcohol. Don't give fluoride mouth rinses or alcohol-laden mouthwash to children six-years-old or younger, as they're more inclined to swallow.
It's essential to remember that no mouthwash is a replacement for a regular oral care routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. So even if your dentist recommends or prescribes a mouthwash, you still need to follow your complete oral care routine to maintain good dental health.
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