While brushing, flossing, and a proper diet are all important parts of maintaining proper oral hygiene, another part of proper dental care is the use of a mouthwash. Contrary to some public sentiment, there are quite a few different types of mouthwash, and they do not all do the same exact thing. Some of these mouthwashes might cause different effects, meaning not all might be good for daily use, and each have different goals associated with the oral hygiene process.

Natural Mouthwash

Natural mouthwashes use various herbal options which aim to achieve the same result as chemical mouthwashes. Some of these herbs are for whitening teeth, mainly by coloration, some by burning off the top layer of scum on the teeth. Others are provided specifically for bad breath, aiming to produce a clean smell, mainly just through good smelling herbs. And others seek to combat the germs themselves. These herbs can have the same side effects that chemicals do however, but of course they give you a wider range of options than simple chemicals might. Natural mouthwashes can be categorized into several different categories. Some of these herbs can be highly acidic, which can cause it’s own host of issues, including canker sores and pain. This can be neutralized by using baking soda based toothpaste.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

Cosmetic/breath mouthwashes are mainly for wiping anything physically off of your teeth, but mainly for making your breath smell better. These do not kill germs or strengthen your teeth themselves. They are listed as cosmetic because their effect is surface level, they act only by having an effect on breath and by freshening breath, this is also what is in mouth sprays. You do not need to brush after using most of these.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Fluoride mouthwash strengthens your teeth, but can also stop tooth decay from happening. This is the same stuff provided in drinking water, but in drinking water it is in much lower doses. Fluoride mouthwash is also where the old adage of “make sure to never ever swallow mouthwash came from”, meaning that you do not want to intake these as it could cause deleterious health effects. And of course, while you do not want to drink any mouthwash, you definitely do not want to drink these. Often you will want to rinse your mouth out with water after using these.

Antiseptic Mouthwash

Alcohol-based or antiseptic mouthwash is good for destroying germs that cause bad breath. These can help stop infections in the mouth and stop halitosis. While, like fluoride mouthwash, it can have a negative consequence, in this case, specifically discolouration of the teeth. These directly combat the root cause of bad breath, both superficially making breath smell better, and killing the germs. This can also help stop gingivitis, which is responsible for things like bleeding gums and bad breath. You will want to combine this with brushing and of course the use of floss to have the best effect.

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