This video is about mouthwash. One of the most common questions I get asked is whether I should be using mouthwash every day or not. The short answer is no, you shouldn’t be. The reason why I’m asked is because they realise they haven’t been able to clean their teeth very well and they’re asking because they want to know if there’s anything else they can do to make their cleaning around their mouth better. If you go back to the videos that I explained about brushing your teeth, you would realise that the point of cleaning the teeth is to get rid of the plaque. I always explain to my patients using the analogy that when you have very dirty clothes and you’re trying to clean it by putting in a washing machine and slap some chemicals onto the clothes, you’ll find a lot of time when the clothes come out of the washing machine they’re still dirty.
When something is really dirty, a you need to use physical or mechanical scrubbing or cleaning. That’s no different to the plaques around the teeth because they’re quite sticky and mouthwash is not going to clean plaque off. When plaque becomes hard, we call it tar tar and it’s built up around the teeth, mouthwash is not going to do anything at all. Having said that, there are still some mouthwashes that are quite useful but it’s not something that you use every day. Let’s go through some examples.
One of the most commonly prescribed mouthwash is called chlorhexidine mouthwash. Chlorhexidine is a product that you’ll see it in hospital a lot in the hand wash andsurgical scrubs to name a few. They’re very good at preventing the growth of bacteria. We tend to get patients to rinse with mouthwash a lot but it’s for a very specific reasons. If you had a tooth extraction, it’s very good to use this mouthwash afterwards to try to prevent infections of the area. If you’ve had bad gum disease, the gum tend to be a little bit sore and raw. Some people use mouthwash the week after getting a professional clean just to help limit the bacteria when they aren’t able to clean around the teeth very well because it’s quite sore afterwards.
Keep in mind that mouthwash is not something that you should be using every single day because there’s some side effects. For example, you can start to get the taste change in your mouth and sometimes it stains the teeth, but it’s really useful to use in specific situations. The second mouthwash that we think is potentially useful is what we call fluoride containing mouthwash. Fluorides have been there for a long, long time, it’s in your toothpaste as well. Pretty much all toothpaste will have fluoride. The reason behind that is that when fluorides goes into your mouth it makes your teeth more resistant to acid attack. The most common problems in your mouth tend to be dental decay or holes in your teeth and that come from acid that’s built up by the bacteria that cause a hole in your teeth.
When you have fluorides in your mouth, it makes your teeth more acid resistance and you tend to get less holes in your mouth. Fluoride containing mouthwash can be useful but it’s not something we generally recommend our patients to use every day because it adds to your daily routine. Whereas, if you’re someone who have high risk of getting decay, instead of the mouthwash we generally recommend to up the fluoride concentrations in the toothpaste to something like NeutraFluor 5000. This has five time the fluoride content as a normal stock standard toothpaste that you find in supermarkets. That way, you can swap out the toothpaste and not add extra tasks to your daily routine.
The last one is very interesting. I can tell you out of all the things that you could be doing every day is use Bi-Carb Soda. A lot people ask me, “Okay, if I have a lot of sweets or I have soft drinks or something like that, should I be rinsing my mouth out with the water?” The idea behind that is that you neutralize the acid. When you have Bi-Carb Soda rinse, it’s alkaline. That will neutralize out the acid even better than water. If you’re someone’s who is worried about having holes in your teeth, you can have a glass of water, add a teaspoon of Bi-Carb Soda, and then rinse your mouth after you have something to eat or drink. It’s really cheap, it’s really effective, but why don’t people do it? Because it’s probably not the best tasting thing but, nonetheless, it could be something that you can use around the house.
Those are my three useful mouthwash tips. I hope this information has been useful and we’ll see you at the next video.