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Approximately 200 million Americans used mouthwash in 2020, and the number has kept increasing with growing awareness about the importance of oral health. Good oral health is a strong indicator of overall health, and mouthwash is a simple way to maintain and protect healthy teeth.

A mouthwash is an oral rinse that can be used to cleanse your teeth, gums, and mouth. It is designed to be held and swished around in the mouth for a few minutes but should not be used as a replacement for regular brushing or flossing. Besides brushing and flossing, using a dental rinse is necessary when you’re establishing a good oral care routine. If you’re trying to determine why and when you should use mouthwash, keep reading:

Why Should I Use Mouthwash?

Many people wonder why they would need to use mouthwash, especially if they’re already brushing and flossing regularly. Using it can be an excellent supplementary step to enhance your regular oral care routine and keep your teeth healthy. It has anti-microbial and bacteria-killing properties, which can help those who are struggling to stay on top of their oral health. Even if you’re visiting the dentist regularly for a dental check-up, you still need to be doing everything possible at home to minimize the chances of developing cavities or other serious oral health problems.

But sometimes just using mouthwash isn’t enough, and you have to know whether to use mouthwash before or after brushing for the best results. There are many health benefits of using a good oral rinse, including:

You might be thinking that using an oral rinse at any time is good enough to get all the health benefits associated with using it, but sometimes, that simply isn’t enough. Knowing when to use mouthwash is crucial to ensure that you get the most out of it.

Types of Mouthwash

Before you think about when is the best time to use mouthwash, it’s important to know whether you’re using the right one. With so many varieties available today, it can be challenging to know if you’re using the right one for your needs. There are two main types that are available in most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Therapeutic Mouthwash

This type of oral rinse is designed to improve oral health by reducing plaque and killing bacteria. It’s also very helpful in eradicating gingivitis. If an individual is dealing with specific oral health problems, like bad breath, dentists will generally recommend a therapeutic oral rinse. Most therapeutic oral rinses contain various active ingredients, including:

  • Essential oils: Natural oils like menthol have anti-microbial properties, which makes them ideal to use in a mouthwash. It can also be used to treat periodontitis.
  • Fluoride: This is a critical factor in preventing tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Chlorhexidine: Has antiseptic properties that work towards reducing plaque build-up.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

If you’re just looking to freshen up your breath and have a pleasant taste in your mouth, a cosmetic oral rinse is what you’re looking for. While you can use this mouthwash after eating meals or in the morning, it typically works best when you’ve had strong-smelling foods that can impact the bacteria in your mouth. Many of these oral rinses contain alcohol, which can be ideal for killing any bacteria that is leading to bad breath. 

You may find cosmetic oral rinses that contain artificial flavoring and sweeteners that enhance the taste of it without affecting your oral health. If you’re unsure of what kind of oral rinse you should be using, it’s always best to consult a dentist about it.

Does Time Matter?

While you can use mouthwash any time you really feel like it, there are times when using it can be more effective for your overall oral health. There are also times when using mouthwash can be more detrimental to your oral health than you think. For example, using mouthwash right after brushing can wash away the fluoride in your toothpaste, which is helpful in preventing tooth decay.

If you have open sores, wounds, or gum sensitivity, it is recommended not to use mouthwash unless specifically recommended by your dentist. Using it right before eating may also be counterproductive, as eating can build up plaque and bacteria in your mouth.

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The Best Time to Use Mouthwash

Depending on your daily routine, diet, and lifestyle, the best time to use an oral rinse can vary. If you’re looking to build a healthy oral routine, here are recommended times when you should be using mouthwash. 

After Brushing

Using an oral rinse immediately after brushing your teeth is not recommended, but it is encouraged to use an oral rinse thirty minutes after brushing your teeth. This allows enough time for the fluoride in your toothpaste to protect your teeth, and the mouthwash can further protect your teeth from any harmful bacteria or plaque buildup. Start by brushing your teeth, follow up with floss, and complete it with your oral rinse. 

Similarly, if you’re wondering whether to use mouthwash before or after brushing, there is a general consensus that using it after brushing is more effective for your oral health. Anti-microbial properties of oral rinses can be diminished if you brush your teeth right after.

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After Eating

Whether you’re having an 8-course meal or a light snack, using some form of oral care right afterward can prevent any food particles from sticking and bacteria from building up. If you’re looking for an effective way to keep your teeth safe, using an oral rinse right after you’re done eating can be incredibly useful. 

Carrying your preferred oral rinse in a small travel-sized bottle is ideal when you’re constantly on the go, as it can help prevent bad breath and keep confidence high. 

Before Bed

Bacteria can build up while you’re asleep, and it never hurts to give your teeth that extra layer of protection to prevent bacteria growth at night. For best results, make sure that you’re not eating anything after you use an oral rinse for the night. 

Keep Your Teeth Protected, Always

At Definitive Dental, we’re committed to taking your smile to new heights. Knowing when to use mouthwash is not enough when you want to maintain your oral health and feel confident about your smile. If you’re feeling unsure about what type of mouthwash to use or how to build the right oral routine for your needs, our team is here to help. From dental check-ups to dental implants, we are Grand Prairie’s specialized dentists who are here to cater to your every need. 

Schedule an appointment with us by calling us at (972) 646-0660, or fill out our contact form today!

A dentist showing a digital X-ray to a patient

Most dentists recommend that patients receive X-rays once per year — but, are they necessary?

The American Dental Association (ADA) does recommend updated X-rays at least once every twelve months, and many offices use modern technology that drastically reduces the amount of radiation patients are exposed to compared to the X-rays of several decades ago. Modern digital X-rays are safe for patients of all ages, and the consequences of not receiving an X-ray could lead to significant dental problems down the road. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Why Do Dentists Use X-Rays?

Even the most skilled dentists can’t see everything about your teeth just by looking. Tooth decay can develop under the surface, and many early alignment issues are harder to notice with the naked eye.

Nearly every oral disease is preventable when caught early. Dental X-rays are a diagnostic tool that helps dentists diagnose any potential oral health problems which are not immediately visible during a regular oral health examination. When a patient goes for a regular oral health check-up, a dentist may recommend getting a dental X-ray if they believe that there is an underlying issue, or simply to make sure that no new problems are developing.

Dental X-rays are safe and necessary if you are already suffering from a pre-existing oral health issue like cavities or tooth decay. For children and teenagers, dental X-rays are necessary to check the development of their teeth.

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Problems That X-Rays Detect

Dental X-rays give a complete picture of the patient’s mouth and allow dentists to notice symptoms of many issues. Here are some of the most common:

  • Tooth decay and cavities: Cavities most commonly develop in the places that are hard to brush, and these also happen to be the places that are hardest to see — like in between teeth or near the gumline. Dental X-rays can spot these cavities before they grow into something much larger. Tooth decay similarly can start developing underneath dental fillings, which can be impossible to detect without an X-ray. 
  • Jaw alignment and bite problems: Many patients suffering from migraines or chewing problems suffer from improper jaw alignment. A dental X-ray can provide crucial information about the structure and alignment of the jaw, which can help experts understand where to make corrective measures. 
  • Gum disease: Dental X-rays are necessary if your dentist believes that there is bone loss, which is often associated with gum disease. A dental X-ray can show any changes in the structure of a patient’s teeth.
  • Oral infections: Changes in the root canal or an abscess are visible through dental X-rays, but they’re impossible to see otherwise. If a patient has recently undergone a root canal or any other procedure with a high chance of infection, a dentist can request a dental X-ray. 

If a patient is preparing for any dental procedure such as a tooth implant, dentures, or even braces, a dental X-ray is necessary to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly as planned. If your dentist sees something concerning during the preliminary dental X-ray, they may make alterations to your procedure to increase your chances of success.  

Types of Dental X-Rays

Two main types of dental X-rays are in use today: extraoral (outside the mouth) and intraoral (inside the mouth). Intraoral are the most common dental X-rays in Grand Prairie, and they provide comprehensive detail about the state of the patient’s teeth. They can enable a dentist to find cavities, check developing teeth, and monitor the development of growing teeth. 

Extraoral X-rays show the exterior components of the teeth, mainly focusing on the jaw and skull. This is another type of safe dental X-ray that is helpful when the development or structure of the jaw needs to be monitored. 

How Often Do Dental X-Rays Need To Be Scheduled?

Once you become aware of how dental X-rays are necessary for optimal oral health, you may also want to understand how frequently they should be done. Just like every patient’s oral health is subjective, the number of times they should undergo a dental X-ray can also vary. Your dental history and current oral health can play a huge role in how many dental X-rays a dentist may recommend. 

Even though the ADA recommends once every 12 months, realistically, those with no recent dental issues or infections may not need an X-ray every year. On the other hand, those suffering from an active condition, infection, or disease may need to get one every six months. If you are a new patient, your dentist may want you to take a dental X-ray to determine whether there are any pre-existing problems and monitor changes over the years using the initial X-ray. It can be recommended for patients of all ages, from children to adults without teeth. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Many people question the safety of dental X-rays, and while there is some radiation involved, it is far from being a harmful dose. Humans are naturally exposed to radiation in a lot of forms, whether it’s from the sun, home appliances, or cosmic rays. Comparatively, the dose of radiation that is emitted through dental X-rays is small. 

A man and child looking at a dental X-ray with a dentist

With advanced technology, the dangers that once came with dental X-rays are greatly reduced. If you are still concerned about the radiation exposure from dental X-rays, it can be worthwhile to speak with your dentist. However, most dentists will only recommend dental X-rays as a necessity to provide better services. 

Schedule Your Dental X-Ray in Grand Prairie with Definitive Dental

When you are looking to schedule a necessary but safe dental X-ray, Definitive Dental can help. Our state-of-the-art technology allows for digital X-rays, which greatly minimizes radiation exposure. Our dental X-rays only result in a minimal amount of radiation, similar to the radiation you would be exposed to during a 12-second phone call. We provide cosmetic dentistry and family dentistry as well to holistically meet your dental needs. 

With more than 400 5-star reviews and our friendly, caring staff, we are confident that we can cater to your needs. We are committed to an excellent patient experience, with a pain-free guarantee on all our procedures! 

Contact us today by filling out our contact form or giving us a call at (972) 646-0660. We are ready to take your smile to new heights, together!

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