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Is Mouthwash an OK Substitute for Brushing?

Sept2MouthwashAt my dental office in Mill Creek, we’re occasionally asked if it’s okay to replace brushing with mouthwash, or supplement it with a rinse. Most of the time, mouthwash is used to relieve a bit of bad breath embarrassment. And while quick swish of mouthwash can give you a tingly, minty fresh mouth, could it actually be as good as brushing?  

Don’t Toss the Brush

Many people think the main reason to brush their teeth is to get rid of a bit of morning breath or destinkify a day’s worth of coffee drinking and snack eating. In reality, there are many more reasons to brush than simply to freshen your breath. Brushing for at least two minutes twice a day helps remove dangerous plaque and bacteria that could lead to decay, bad breath, and even more serious oral health concerns. Brushing is the only recommended way to keep your mouth healthy enough to avoid bad breath.

A Bigger Problem

Sometimes when bad breath is an issue, it could be caused by some malodorous food or drink. When that happens, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. But if breath is stinky more often than just after eating garlic pizza, or any other strongly scented food, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Bad breath is a key sign of gum disease, which is a serious health problem. Gum disease can absolutely affect your mouth’s health by loosening teeth, making them more sensitive, and yes, causing chronic bad breath. What’s more, gum disease could also affect your whole body. Gum disease has been linked to many overall health concerns including increased risk for heart disease and stroke. For your oral and whole-body health, don’t let bad breath linger. See your Mill Creek dentist as soon as you can.

Other Concerns

One of the most common ingredients in many mouthwash brands is alcohol. When alcohol is introduced into the mouth, it naturally dries the palate and reduces saliva production. Why is this a concern? Without saliva, bacteria that causes bad breath, decay, and other problems is left to linger and cause damage. So basically, while a quick swish with mouthwash may seem to temporarily relieve bad breath, it could actually be making the problem worse over time.

If you or someone close to you is suffering from bad breath, stop the embarrassment and give my Mill Creek dental office a call today. We’d love the opportunity to help identify the problem and work with you to fix it. You deserve a healthy, confident smile. Let us help.

Welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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