Mouthwash: It’s just ‘Mouth Perfume’

Welcome to the most effectively designed marketing gimmick in the health industry: mouthwash.

I’m forever being asked, “Will it clean under the gums and blast away the germs like on TV?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. Bacteria in the mouth grow in what’s called a ‘biofilm’ (very similar to bathroom grime) and are completely protected from any liquid antiseptic or chemical.

That burning sensation you get when swishing mouthwash around isn’t actually the bacteria dying a slow painful death. It’s actually the skin inside your mouth burning due to the high alcohol content. Many popular mouthwashes contain roughly 60% alcohol, which is what gives that burning sensation during use and ‘fresh’ feeling afterwards. This doesn’t mean the teeth are any cleaner or healthier. Think of mouthwash more as a ‘mouth perfume’. It’s akin to using perfume to ward away one’s body odor, instead of just taking a shower.

There are very limited occasions that I may sometimes recommend specific mouthwashes (for example after oral surgery when it’s not possible to brush). Outside of these instances, the best way you can ensure you have healthy teeth for life is to physically brush the bacteria off.

If you would like individual advice on how best to take care of your teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact us.