Do mouth rinses really have any value in dental hygiene? How should they be used?
An oral rinse is not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing, but it has its place in your home oral care regimen. In fact, while the feeling of a fresh mouth and breath is good, one danger from over-the-counter mouth rinse is that the fresh feeling it creates may cover up an unpleasant taste or odor that is the first tell-tale sign of a problem like gum disease.
A number of mouth rinses have been recognized by the ADA as effective in helping prevent a build-up of plaque above the gum line when used as directed. Many have been awarded the American Dental Association Seal of Approval. If you are a regular mouth rinse user, dentists suggest that you brush and floss immediately before rinsing. A mouth rinse is most effective on clean teeth and it can rinse away food particles loosened by brushing and flossing. There are also prescription mouth rinses that are effective for dealing with specific types of problems.
Because children tend to accidentally swallow mouth rinse, they should use it only under adult supervision. Talk with your dentist about the right way to use mouth rinse.
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