How Mouthwash Has Been Lying to Us | Riverside Dentist

toothbrushLet’s face it, some of our favorite foods leave us with some of the worst breath. We enjoy our garlic, onions and coffee, and the state they leave our breath is horrific but completely worth it. Just gargle a little bit of mouthwash & we’re good…right? What if I told you it’s all a myth, that mouthwash isn’t helping you out with bad breath at all? Sorry to have to break the news, but it’s true.

Before I begin, let’s take a quick look at what causes bad breath in the first place. We have bacteria in our mouths, both good and bad. While there are a few medical conditions that can cause bad breath, poor dental hygiene is generally what causes everyday cases of it. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, it is easy for plaque and harmful bacteria to collect and multiply inside of our mouths. That’s where our saliva comes in. We naturally produce saliva to help our mouth maintain a healthy pH balance. We produce saliva, then it breaks up all the built-up bacteria and prevents it from sticking around, giving us bad breath. Couple that with your daily brushing and flossing, and you have a relatively healthy mouth.

Saliva is our natural line of defense against bad breath. Now let’s look at mouthwash. We know for a fact that mouthwash is full of alcohol, some as much as 25 percent. We also know that alcohol dehydrates us. So, by default, mouthwash is also dehydrating. Now, if mouthwash dehydrates us, we are not producing enough saliva. Not enough saliva, our pH balance is thrown off and bacteria is allowed to collect. Mouthwash is actually doing the complete opposite of what we thought!

But what about the claims made by mouthwash ads to “kill bacteria and bad breath chemically”? Well, mouthwash does kill bacteria. It has to with all of that alcohol in it. The problem is, mouthwash cannot distinguish between the harmful bacteria and the bacteria it needs to leave alone because it is actually helping our mouth.

There were once claims that mouthwash could actually replace your daily dental regime. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mouthwash cannot remove plaque. Nothing liquid can remove plaque. It needs to be removed by physically removing it with a toothbrush and floss. If you aren’t doing either of those, the plaque remains on your teeth and the mouthwash cannot get to the bacteria in order to kill it.

So, what do we do when we get a case of bad breath? Forget about mouthwash and use water. Brush and floss a couple times a day, and tongue scrape at least once daily. Your tongue is full of bacteria so a good scraping is pretty necessary. If you are in a jam and don’t have a dental kit around, munching on an apple or a stick of gum will do the trick. Both will help produce saliva. And don’t forget to drink lots of water. Not only is it just good for you and keeping you hydrated, but the more you drink, the more saliva you’re producing. No more bad breath!

If you are in need of a professional cleaning, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment today! Or visit www.gmdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly serves Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

How Does The Dentist Clean My Teeth Differently Than I Do?

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Regular teeth cleaning is an important of our daily routine. We clean our teeth to make them look good and in so that we can be confident in our smiles. Also, by regularly cleaning our teeth, we prevent oral bacterial infections that lead to complications in other parts of our body, such as the brain, lungs, heart and so on.

Part of what we can do to make sure that our teeth are kept clean at all times is to brush our teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. Rinsing with mouthwash also helps keep plaque and bacterial buildup in teeth at a minimum.

Another thing that we can do to maintain our oral health all year round is to visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings twice a day.

Professional cleanings are important because they’re different from the regular teeth cleaning that you already do at home.

How so?

What Makes Professional Dental Cleanings Different

There are two reasons why you’ll want to have your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office – to prevent tooth loss and to prevent oral infections from infecting other parts of your body.

Professional dental cleanings help remove the buildup of plaque and tartar from teeth, the main cause of gum disease and other oral complications. Even with regular brushing and flossing, your teeth may still be prone to plaque buildup, especially in hard to reach areas.

If neglected, plaque and bacteria may build up in such obscure areas, which may result to the earliest sign of gum disease – bleeding and inflamed gums. If not treated as early as then, the infection may spread out and infect the bone and tissues in your mouth. Although your body’s immune system can fight off the infection, it won’t be able to do so effectively for so long. This is exactly where professional dental cleanings come in.

In a way, professional dental cleanings help level the playing field. It helps remove most of the plaque and tartar responsible for the infection, so that your body’s immune system won’t have to fight them off on its own. This then lowers your mouth’s risk for gum disease. Better yet, regular professional dental cleanings make sure that the oral infection in your mouth does not progress to the point that the damage becomes already irreversible.

What To Expect During The Appointment

Before and during the procedure, the dentist will explain to you the status of your oral health, like why your teeth are sensitive or why your gums are bleeding, and what’s going to be done to help remedy your situation.

If you want, you can ask for an intro-oral camera or a mirror that will allow you to watch the dentist as he or she works. While optional, asking for one can help you gain a better understanding on what’s being done to your teeth.

In some cases, such as when you already have gum disease, your dentist may recommend deep cleaning, or scaling and root planning. This type of treatment is more thorough than a regular dental cleaning. This is type of cleaning is necessary when there are already large amounts of tartar and bacteria under your gums.

Regardless of what cleaning your dentist recommends, you’ll usually be updated on the state of your oral health. Your dentist will probably then take a few minutes to discuss with you on how you can improve your brushing and flossing technique, as well as when you should go back for another appointment.

Listen well to what your dentist says and follow any advice given. If you do that, you should enjoy cleaner and better-looking teeth that will stay that away for a long time.

If you are in need of a professional cleaning, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment today! Or visit www.gmdental.com for additional information.