They line the oral hygiene aisle by the dozens, but is using mouthwash a waste of time (and money)?
Sure, no one likes to have embarrassing bad breath, but mouthwash isn’t exactly the best way to get rid of it. In fact, in some instances, it may make bad breath worse!
First things first. The most common cause of foul breath is bad dental care. The source of the odor is often particles of food stuck in between the teeth and an accumulation of bacteria in the back of the throat. As germ expert Dr. Phillip Tierno, a professor at New York University, puts it, “When you get a concentration of bacterial-producing malodorous chemicals coming from the lack of oral hygiene… it has the equivalent odor of feces.”
Yuck! This is the reason why brushing and flossing at least twice a day is so important.
But, now, back to mouthwash.
According to many experts, mouthwash does not eliminate bad breath. It may work at first, killing a lot of germs, but then the alcohol – which is present in many mouthwashes – sets in. This alcohol will dry your mouth out, and when your saliva glands run dry, they are are not able to help wash away bacteria. Voila – bad breath is born, again.
The companies that produce alcohol-based mouthwashes say, of course, that their products work. Listerine, which has up to 27%, insists that their wash actually increases saliva flow.
Bottom line here – if you feel that you must use mouthwash, reach for the non-alcoholic kind. You can also beat bad breath by flossing your teeth, brushing your teeth and tongue for at least two minutes, and by drinking a lot of water.
Of course, if you follow all of these steps regularly and your bad breath problem still persists, give my office a call. It’s probably time for a visit.