Mouthwash makers say the benefits of oral rinse go beyond just kissable breath — but some people worry that alcohol-containing rinses come with a number of health risks. Here’s what you should know.
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH
Ahhh — who doesn’t love that minty kick that comes from a swig of mouthwash?
And your oral rinse could be doing more than just giving your breath a makeover, according to many mouthwash makers — it could be chockfull of health benefits, too.
Just check out the label on your mouthwash container, and you may find that it’s a plaque zapper, a teeth whitener, perhaps even a gum-disease fighter.
But are the claims true? Is mouthwash really good for your mouth? Turns out, the answer is yes and no.
4 Important Mouthwash Pros
- Cut down on cavities. “It is absolutely true that rinsing with a fluoride rinse can help reduce cavities,” says Nicholas Toscano, DDS, a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Implant and Advanced Clinical Dentistry. “There are countless studies on the benefits of fluoride in reducing demineralization and cavitations of the teeth.”
- Fight gum disease. With periodontal disease (such as gingivitis), gums and tooth sockets can get inflamed or infected because of plaque from bacteria and food that lingers on teeth. An antibacterial mouthwash, like one with alcohol or chlorhexidine, may help prevent periodontal disease.