There are lots of myths and rumors surrounding mouthwash. And if you listen to all of them, you’d never go near a bottle. The truth is simple: mouthwash is an important part of any daily oral care routine. In this article, we discuss the most important issues surrounding this topic.

Mouthwash Can Help Fight Cavities

Any brand of mouthwash can help fight cavities as long as it contains fluoride. The boost provided by the rinse helps re-mineralize teeth that are affected by decay.Jacksonville Dentist Dr. Harris Rittenberg provides mouthwash facts and tips


It should be noted that fluoride rinses will not be effective at fighting cavities if the patient does not also practice good eating and brushing habits. The rinse is helpful, but not a blanket solution.

Some Mouthwashes Also Help Fight Gum Disease

The washes that contain alcohol or chlorhexidine are “antibacterial.” This means they help rid the mouth of the microbes that cause gum inflammation, which leads to periodontitis (aka gum disease).

Natural Mouthwashes

When dealing with mass-produced products like mouthwash, “natural” is often just a marketing term. For instance, the only main difference between Listerine Cool Mint and Listerine Natural is the removal of FD&C Green Dye. All of the active ingredients and many of the inactive ingredients are the same.

The Internet is also full of homemade natural mouthwash recipes, which only list non-chemical, non-processed ingredients. Some may work well; some may not work at all.

Mouthwash and a Canker Sore

Canker sores are usually caused by external factors. Giving them time is the only surefire way for them to heal. Antibacterial mouthwashes can, however, help alleviate the canker sore pain. This relief comes at the price of some initial stinging, and salt-water rinses have proven to be equally effective.

Our Mouthwash Recommendations

We recommend that our patients use a fluoride mouthwash, especially those prone to cavities. It can also help freshen breath and reduce exposure to gum disease bacteria.

It should not be used as a replacement for tooth brushing, nor should it be considered an effective measure against gum disease or bad breath by itself. Instead, it should be used as one part of a person’s oral health care routine.

The rinse should be swished in the mouth for at least 30 seconds and no food or drinks should be consumed for at least 30 minutes afterwards. The directions on the individual bottles will provide the best instructions.

For More Information

If you have questions about this article or about any dental problem, please contact us. We’re always happy to help answer questions of our Jacksonville patient family.