Anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, alcohol-free - a wide variety of mouth rinses are available to choose from, all of them claiming to safeguard your teeth against decay, protect gums and freshen your breath. With that being said, did you know that mouth rinses containing fluoride can help more than other rinses? Though we can't consider mouth rinses as a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, incorporating them in your daily oral hygiene routine can offer various oral health benefits.
A fluoride mouth rinse is mouthwash that contains fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral known to strengthen enamel and reduce tooth decay. Besides protecting enamel against acid attacks and cavities, fluoride mouth rinses can also repair the early stages of tooth decay.
No surprise here, as the name itself indicates, the main ingredient is fluoride! This mineral occurs naturally but can also be synthetically produced. Fluoride is a major component of many oral health products designed for cavity and decay prevention.
A fluoride rinse is mainly useful for people who have an increased risk of tooth decay. For instance, for people suffering from dry mouth, fewer food particles and residues in the mouth get washed away by saliva which can then cause plaque formation to occur. Those who have dental restorations like bridges, retainers, and crowns or people with braces are at a greater danger for tooth decay as food particles can get stuck around these additions. Also, people who have a family history of cavity and gum disease also benefit from fluoride washes.
Since all mouth rinses contain alcohol as one of the main ingredients, its overuse can harm gums, tongue, and inner cheeks. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to fluoride which can lead to rashes, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness. Alcohol can also make the mouth dry by absorbing the moisture, leading to cracks and swellings. Overuse of a fluoride mouthwash can lead to tooth discoloration, allergies, irritation, as well.
Do not give at-home fluoride rinses to children under 6 years old as they may swallow them, and can lead to dental fluorosis, where the child's permanent teeth will develop with white specks or streaks. Though this is not harmful, this can affect the aesthetics of their smile.
Fluoride mouth rinse is safe and beneficial when used in moderation, but overuse can lead to complications. If you have any questions or concerns about using a fluoride mouth rinse, consider seeing your dentist.