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Colonial Dental Group Cosmetic Dentistry Blog - Dooley, Lewis, and Quezada

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Does Mouthwash Work?

Any trip to the grocery or drug store can show you row after row of mouthwashes, all making specific claims about their effectiveness. Some contain naturally derived ingredients like vitamin C and baking soda. Others contain fluoride, antiseptics, tarter control ingredients, or whitening agents. Still others are little more than artificial sweeteners and strong perfumes. With all the claims made on mouthwash bottles, how is one to pick a product that will actually work?

What to Look for in a Mouthwash


All mouthwashes work to temporarily cover bad breath. This, however, is less a solution than an oral band aid, masking a larger problem, and not actually dealing with the specific causes of bad breath, or addressing larger oral hygiene concerns. The primary ingredient in any mouthwash is water and is what is added in addition to this determines its effectiveness.

  • Looking for mouthwashes that carry the ADA approval symbol indicates that the mouthwash actually does what it claims to do.
  • Choosing a mouthwash with antiseptic properties can kill bacteria that lead to plaque, bad breath, and periodontal disease.
  • Mouthwashes with additional tartar fighting ingredients will help keep plaque at a minimum, making the removal of plaque easier during brushing.
  • Fluoride is a strengthening agent that can help keep your teeth less susceptible to decay.


Of course, no amount of gargling is an adequate replacement for regular dental cleanings and exams. In some cases, like periodontal disease and dry mouth, our dentists may even recommend prescription mouthwashes. Still, these additional at-home oral hygiene steps are only supplemental to the thorough cleaning an experienced dentist alone can provide.

If you live in or around Chicago, Illinois, please contact the dental team at Colonial Dental Group for a thorough examination and cleaning today. Regular checkups in conjunction with proper oral hygiene, including mouthwashes, can ensure your teeth stay their healthiest for years to come.

posted by Erica at 11:32 AM

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