Why You Should Read the Ingredients List on a Bottle of Mouthwash

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Do you regularly use mouthwash? Some people view mouthwash as an essential part of general dentistry and oral hygiene, but you will find that not all types of mouthwash are the same. Many generic brands of mouthwash claim to offer fresh breath and some of them are designed to be more specialised, such as a mouthwash with teeth whitening properties. It can often only be possible to know what type of mouthwash is best for you once you look at the list of the ingredients. So what are some of the most common culprits for bad breath? And what types of mouthwash are best to beat them?

Sulphurous Compounds

Most people generally use mouthwash to give them fresher breath, but you need to be sure that the mouthwash is up to the task. There are some types of food and drink that are notorious for causing unpleasant breath. Onions, garlic, and many spices used in curry are high in sulphurous compounds. These compounds react against the bacteria in your mouth, causing an odor that is far more pronounced than when you eat other foods. Drinks high in caffeine (such as coffee and cola) slow down the speed with which your mouth produces saliva. With less available saliva to absorb an odor, an unpleasant scent is far more noticeable. This is more the case with coffee, as coffee's natural smell is generally fairly pungent. Using a weak, generic mouthwash can not be particularly effective after consuming these items.


What are some of the most common active ingredients in various types of mouthwash and what do they actually do?


While a mouthwash that contains alcohol (often listed as ethanol on the list of ingredients) can feel like it cleanses your mouth, the effect does not last. Alcohol certainly has remarkable cleaning abilities, and yet it can also contribute to a reduced ability to produce saliva. This means that the clean feeling does not last long, and bad breath will quickly return. There are a number of alcohol-free types of mouthwash available although these can often be slightly more expensive.

Chlorhexidine Digluconate

Present in small amounts in some types of mouthwash, chlorhexidine digluconate offers the same antibacterial action of alcohol without drying out your mouth, meaning that your fresh breath will last longer. It can also be highly effective at dislodging plaque at regular intervals during the day when you are not able to brush, which is something that alcohol does not do. Chlorhexidine digluconate-based mouthwash should be used sparingly by those who drink a lot of tea, coffee, or red wine as the chemical can combine with the tannic acid found in these items to cause staining.

Zinc Acetate

Zinc acetate is often combined with a small amount of chlorhexidine to create an antibacterial action that has remarkable longevity. Some of these types of mouthwash will give you several hours of protection, if not longer. The zinc acetate has the ability to actually neutralise the bad breath-causing compounds in your mouth, merely than simply masking them. A mouthwash that uses zinc acetate and a miniscule amount of chlorhexidine digluconate will not cause staining when combined with red wine, coffee, or tea.

It can be important to look beyond the claims of a certain type of mouthwash and read the small print on the list of ingredients. Only then will you know if the mouthwash is going to do what you want it to. For more information, ask your dentist at a place like Complete Dental Care.