You must have seen the pictures, videos, or bottles in the supermarket. A crystal clear, soothing blue or green liquid promising to give you minty-fresh breath and kill those tiny monsters in your mouth that brushing cannot reach. Yes, mouthwash.

Mouthwash, also called oral rinse, is a liquid used for rinsing your teeth, gums, and mouth. It usually contains an antiseptic ingredient like alcohol or menthol that can get into the places in your mouth that a toothbrush cannot access and kill the bacteria residing there. 

It is known to help in preventing tooth decay and fighting against bad breath. Mouthwashes have gained increasing popularity in India in recent years, and more and more people are now making them a part of their oral hygiene routine. 

However, there are still many misconceptions prevalent about mouthwashes, and it is important to learn the facts behind them.

Myths And Facts About Mouthwash

Myth 1: Mouthwash can be used as a substitute for brushing.

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, mouthwash cannot be used as an alternative to brushing or flossing. Mouthwash may loosen plaque (the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth), but cannot remove it.

Brushing and flossing physically remove food debris and plaque from your teeth and help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Mouthwash should only be used to supplement your oral care routine.

Myth 2: Mouthwash cures bad breath.

Fact: Bad breath is usually a result of inadequate dental hygiene, among other factors. 

Mouthwash can fight bad breath, and in a pinch, its strong smell can help mask the underlying odour. However, it cannot cure bad breath. Mouthwash is effective only short-term, and its effect is diluted by saliva. 

Fresh breath and clean mouth require consistent oral care including brushing and flossing. Also, some causes of bad breath may not lie in your mouth, in which case mouthwash makes no difference at all. 

Myth 3: All mouthwashes are the same. 

Fact: No, mouthwashes come with different ingredients for different purposes. Some aim to prevent cavities, while others claim to fight bad breath. Mouthwashes are classified as cosmetic and therapeutic. 

  • Cosmetic mouthwashes loosen bits of food from your teeth, temporarily fight bad breath, and leave a refreshing taste in your mouth. 
  • Therapeutic mouthwashes contain additional active ingredients to fight bacteria, reduce plaque, and help with gum disease. 

Myth 4: If it burns, the mouthwash is working. 

Fact: Your mouthwash should not hurt. A stinging or burning sensation on taking a sip of mouthwash into your mouth might mean that you are sensitive to one or more active ingredients (essential oils or alcohol) in the mouthwash. 

If your current mouthwash gives an uncomfortable mouthfeel, consult your dentist for a suitable gentle alternative.

Myth 5: Pregnant women should not use mouthwash.

Fact: During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to oral health issues, including gum disease due to changing pregnancy hormones. Mouthwash will help in preventing bad breath and cavities when you are pregnant. So, pregnant women can use mouthwash.

If you wish, you can always confirm with your doctor before you use a mouthwash during pregnancy. 

Remember, although mouthwashes prevent bad breath, a regular oral care routine including brushing and flossing is essential for long-term oral health. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.