If you walk down the dental-care aisle at any Hendricks County drugstore or grocery store, you’ll find a dizzying array of mouthwash products to choose from – anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis and breath-freshening, just to name a few. But how do you know which one is the right mouthwash for your oral care needs?

Basically, there are three categories of mouth rinse that you can choose from:

  • Fluoride-containing mouthwashes. If you’re prone to getting cavities, a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent or reduce tooth decay, by strengthening the enamel that covers your teeth. While most people don’t need to use a fluoride-containing mouthwash, especially if they’re using fluoridated toothpaste, people who have xerostomia (an abnormally dry mouth) may benefit from a fluoride-containing mouth rinse. We need sufficient salvia to wash away food debris and acids that can form from plaque. But if you don’t produce enough salvia, fluoridated mouthwashes can help prevent tooth decay and gingivitis by washing away acid and protecting your teeth.
  • Anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouthwashes. Since you may not always do as good a job as you should when brushing and flossing your teeth, anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouthwashes can supplement your oral care habits by reducing and killing damaging bacteria that can cause plaque buildup on your teeth or lead to the development of gingivitis. If you already have gingivitis or more serious oral health issues, Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County may prescribe a stronger mouth rinse to help fight the bacteria causing these advanced dental problems.
  • Cosmetic mouthwashes. These types of mouth rinses help to temporarily freshen your breath and provide a pleasant taste. However, most of these mouthwashes don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath in the first place. And they don’t provide any long-term dental benefits against plaque buildup, tooth decay or gingivitis.

Many of these mouthwashes are available over-the-counter at Hendricks County stores. You should always select a mouth rinse that carries the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which means the brand has been tested for safety and effectiveness.

If you’re not sure which mouthwash you should use, talk to Dr. Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry. He can recommend a mouth rinse based on your oral health needs. Plus he can prescribe a stronger mouthwash if you suffer from more serious dental issues.

Remember, mouthwash should be used to supplement your oral hygiene – not as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. And don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups with Dr. Erickson by calling (317) 745-4400.