Mouthwash fights germs in your mouth

Mouthwash has been a staple of oral health routines for decades now, but do you know why it is effective?

Our mouths can harbour anywhere between 10 to 50 billion bacteria on our teeth, gums, tongue and the inner lining of the cheeks and lips. A single tooth can hold up to 1 billion bacteria. Even oral hygiene freaks can house around 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria on each tooth surface.

As soon as a few minutes after brushing, a very thin layer made up of saliva, proteins and bacteria is formed on the surface of teeth. This acts as a base for bacterial attachment and further growth. Within a few hours dental plaque is formed from an accumulation of bacteria along with sugar in our food. The acids and toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque can irritate your gums and cause gingivitis, along with bad breath and a loss of tooth enamel.

When brushing and flossing, the surface of teeth and the spaces between them are cleaned and removed of bacteria. Despite this, you may not be able to remove all the plaque and bacteria from your mouth with brushing and flossing alone. Mouthwash can reach not only all the surfaces and tiny crevices of your teeth, but also your gums, tongue and the inner lining of your cheeks and lips.

Rinsing with mouthwash helps to dislodge and get rid of any remaining food particles in your mouth. Alcohol in mouthwash can penetrate the cell walls of bacteria and either render them inactive or kill them (but it can also lead to a dry mouth). Also, chlorhexidine can immediately destroying bacteria and inhibit their growth. Meanwhile, alcohol-free mouthwashes usually contain cetylpyridinium chloride which dissolves the bacterial cell membrane. Mouthwash containing fluoride helps to prevent or halt the progress of tooth decay.

Mouthwash is a great add-on to any oral care regimen to help improve overall oral health. After brushing and flossing your teeth, you should gargle with around 20ml of mouthwash for at least 30 seconds and then spit it out. Avoid eating and drinking for half an hour after use.

However, mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing and should be used accordingly alongside your normal oral health care routine and regular visits to the dentist. Call us here at Dental Care Partnership on 0121 354 1922 to book an appointment with one of our friendly team.