According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), 70% of Canadians will suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives. This high number is a result of many factors including poor diet and less-than-ideal home oral care. Fortunately, you can help prevent gum disease with some simple efforts:
- Brush twice daily
- Floss at least once daily
- Visit your dentist twice each year for a cleaning and examination
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash before bed
Brushing and flossing are great for preventing tooth decay as well as gum disease, but you are limited by the areas you can reach. Even dental floss cannot go everywhere in your mouth, and there may be spaces and surfaces that you inadvertently neglect. Mouthwash can reach these areas and help to ensure a truly clean mouth.
Furthermore, antiseptic mouthwash directly kills bacteria. Brushing and flossing remove food debris and built-up bacteria, but mouthwash can destroy up to 99% of the harmful bacteria in your mouth, including bacteria responsible for gum disease.
Choosing a Mouthwash
Walk down the oral care aisle of any store and you will find dozens of mouthwash brands. Your choices are myriad, but there are some important facts to keep in mind. First, you are looking for an antiseptic mouthwash. Be sure the word “antiseptic” is somewhere on the label. Antiseptic mouthwash will kill bacteria, while other mouthwash like “tartar control” or “tooth decay prevention” may not. These other mouthwash types contain fluoride, which is beneficial for your teeth, but they will do little to prevent or halt gum disease.
Next, make certain your mouthwash carries the CDA Seal. These products have been validated by the CDA to ensure they perform as advertised. Visit this site for a list of mouthwash approved by the CDA and their effects: https://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/seal/products/
The Final Drink of the Day
It is certainly fine to rinse with mouthwash in the morning, but you will also want to rinse right before bed. This practice helps prevent harmful oral bacteria action while you sleep. Plus, you will awaken with a fresher feeling in your mouth.
After your evening brushing and flossing, rinse thoroughly with antiseptic mouthwash for a minute or two. Be careful not to swallow the mouthwash. After you spit out the rinse, do not drink or eat anything further before bed.
Ask your dentist if you need help selecting a mouthwash or if you have any other concerns about your oral health.