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How Can Mouthwash Protect Your Teeth and Gums?

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In our last few blogs we here at Overmeyer Family Dental have been focusing on various ways to prevent tooth decay, outside of the standard brushing and flossing twice daily. Preventive care is the most important aspect of oral health. It is much more easy and less painful to stop tooth decay and gum disease from happening than it is to treat them after the fact. Once you experience tooth decay, and especially if you lose a tooth to it, you are much more likely to get tooth decay in your other teeth.

That is why we use this blog to share ideas about how to prevent tooth decay. This forum is just one more way Overmeyer Family Dental reaches out to the people of Orlando. Shedding light on the issues of oral health and preventive care gives you a better chance of taking care of your teeth and avoiding extensive dental work down the road.

Can Mouthwash Do More Than Freshen Your Breath?

The answer to this question is simple: It depends.

It depends on what’s in it and it depends on how you use it. The active ingredient in mouthwash makes all the difference. Some mouthwashes are designed to freshen your breath and nothing else, while others are more concerned with killing germs and preventing tooth decay. When looking for a mouthwash to fight tooth decay and gum disease, you are going to need something that has antibacterial powers.


This is the active ingredient in Scope, one of the most popular mouthwashes available. Cetylpyridinium does have some germ fighting abilities, but not enough to make much a difference against tooth decay and gum disease. Mouthwashes containing this ingredient are typically only concerned with fighting bad breath, which is appropriate if that is your primary concern. But if you want to kill germs, you are going to need something stronger.


That something stronger is the active ingredient known as Chlorhexidine. It has been shown to kill instantly dental caries, the problem bacteria behind both tooth decay and gum disease. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which is perfect for fight the red and swollen gums symptomatic of gum disease.

All is not perfect with this mouthwash, though. Unfortunately, repeated use will yellow your teeth, but recently, manufacturers have been working on combating that side effect.


While it is typically not considered an active ingredient, you want to wary of mouthwashes containing alcohol because it often means there is nothing else going on in there. Alcohol provides a burn to make mouthwash feel like it’s killing germs, but it’s not. In fact, alcohol could dry your mouth and make it more habitable for dental caries. So you definitely want to avoid mouthwashes containing mouthwashes.

Mouthwash Is Not a Substitute for Brushing

While using the right mouthwash can be a great addition to your preventive care routine, it should never take the place of brushing and flossing and making healthy food choices.

Be sure to visit Overmeyer Family Dental to learn more about how to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Contact us today to make an appointment.

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