We get a lot of people that ask about whether they should be using mouthwash. The advertising for a lot of mouthwashes even leads some people to believe that it can replace brushing your teeth in the morning. However, for many people mouth rinse can cause more problems than it solves and here’s why…
Most Mouthwash is Acidic
The pH scale goes from 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral, like water. A pH above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic. The average normal saliva pH is around 6. If the pH in your mouth drops below 5.5, teeth can start to erode or demineralize. Many mouthwashes pH falls below the critical pH of 5.5. To learn more about why a low pH is bad for your teeth Click Here.
Mouthwash Can Cause Staining
This seems a bit counter intuitive but is true. Some mouth rinses do cause brown staining. The staining is not harmful but it’s not pretty and it can’t just be brushed away. The stain has to be removed with special polishing tools by the dental hygienist and can require extra time to remove the stain at your regular cleaning visit. There is even a lawsuit against Proctor & Gamble due to the Crest Pro-Health mouthwash causing brown stain. Read more about that on Crest’s website here. The brown stain can actually be an indicator that you hadn’t brushed your teeth well enough, plaque was still present, at the time you used the mouth rinse. So properly brushing your teeth prior to using the rinse can avoid this issue.
So should you use a mouthwash regularly? Maybe. If you don’t experience the brown staining and you don’t have enamel erosion then mouthwash in moderation can be okay. My advice to most patients is to leave out the mouthwash… just spend that time on extra great brushing and flossing. Typically the risks of negative side effects outweighs the possible positive effects.