Does Mouthrinse affect your teeth while in Braces?
A common question that is asked is ‘Do I need to use a mouthrinse or does it affect my teeth when in braces?’ Mouthrinses are used for a variety of reasons such as to:
- freshen your breath,
- help prevent dental decay,
- reduce the amount of plaque, or
- to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease).
The answer actually depends on what you are trying to achieve. Even though there are basic ingredients in a mouthrinse like water, cleansing agents, flavouring ingredients and colouring agents, they tend to differ with their active ingredients.
The main types of mouth rinses are:
- Odour neutralisers
- Antibacterial mouthrinses
- Fluoride mouthrinses
Odour neutralising mouthrinses
Odour neutralising mouthrinses act by chemically inactivating odour-causing compounds. They may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave the mouth with a pleasant taste. But they don’t deal with the causes of bad breath. They don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath in the first place nor do they help to reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.
These act directly on the oral bacteria to help reduce the amount of plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath. They can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath all at the same time. They fight against the bacteria present in plaque that create toxins that can damage the gums and cause dental decay.
The most effective rinses contain chlorhexidine which has been shown to have an immediate bactericidal action and a prolonged bacteriostatic action (prevents growth of bacteria) due to adsorption onto the enamel surface. If it is not deactivated, chlorhexidine lasts longer in the mouth than other mouthwashes, which is partly why it is to be preferred over other treatments for gingivitis. An added bonus is that for patients who suffer from mouth ulcers, chlorhexidine help to ease the pain of ulcers as well as help them to heal quicker.
These help to reduce tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to decay. They contain fluoride which help to prevent or reduce tooth decay by strengthening the enamel on the teeth making them more resistant to the acids produced by the bacteria in our mouths. This may be recommended when having orthodontic treatment as the braces do trap a lot of plaque and food which, if not removed, can lead to dental decay.
Alcohol in Mouthrinses
The only concern with mouthrinses is if you choose an alcohol mouthrinse they do cause dryness of the mouth. Not only is this bad for those of us who have dry mouth syndrome as it only exacerbates the condition, but the higher the level of alcohol, the more sloughing of the soft tissues occurs. More sloughing brings about more food for bacteria, which increases bacteria levels, which increases the sulfur levels of bad breath. So when buying a mouthrinse, make sure to buy the alcohol-free version.
So which one is best for you?
Well not everyone needs a mouthrinse, so if you have any questions make sure to ask us the next time you’re in for an appointment.
Fluoride mouthrinses are a good option for use when you’re in braces as it does give you that added protection. In terms of the other mouthrinses, depending on your oral health needs, it may be causing more issues than it solves. And just remember, although it can become part of your daily oral hygiene regime, it is not a substitute for brushing or flossing.
We are excited and happy to be able to offer the latest and best Orthodontic care to our patients. For more information about how you can ‘Embrace the Experience’, email us or call 07 5493 3200.