Hi, my name is Joseph, and I am constantly victimized by people with bad breath. Here’s the ironic part — I suffered from the same crime in middle school. It wasn’t until I was about to kiss someone before they pulled away and made a sour face that I realized something was wrong. Was it because my face had more craters than the moon? Was it because I had the Bieber hair in 2011? Or was it because I believed with all my heart that Axe is an acceptable body spray?
All of the above. Plus I didn’t use mouthwash.
So, to heal the world in my own little way, here are five reasons that you should consider adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine, if you haven’t already:
1. YOUR BREATH WON’T STANK
Do you remember that episode in Spongebob where the sundae gave him really bad breath? Some of y’all really smell like that. I get it. Sometimes you just have to roll out of bed and go to class because you woke up late from a long night of Monster Hunter-ing. Use a mint. Chew some gum. But I’ve heard many of you stinkers say that you did brush your teeth. You’re doing something wrong.
Bad breath (also known by its fancy name, halitosis) is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in your mouth. First and foremost, when you don’t brush and floss (we’ll discuss this another day) regularly, the bits of food in your mouth and between your teeth will accumulate bacteria. Your breath smells because of the sulfur compounds they release. Smoking is also a major cause of bad breath (nicotine kisses are the worst, sorry not sorry).
Now, using mouthwash does help, but it won’t make it go away forever. You still need to brush your teeth and floss religiously. My advice is to use mouthwash with an antiseptic that combats the germs that cause bad breath, and reduces plaque. It’s always good to find one with a seal from the ADA (American Dental Association).
2. THE PLAQUE WON’T HAVE A PLACE TO HANG OUT IN YOUR MOUTH
Plaque is the buildup on your teeth that you recognize as a soft, sticky film. If you’ve ever scraped a tooth mid-day with your tongue or fingers as a kid, then you know what I’m talking about. Plaque contains millions of bacteria and can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Again, brush and floss. Most Americans only do so for around 45 seconds. It is recommended that you spend around two minutes cleaning your mouth. Don’t forget your tongue! After that, gargle with mouthwash. It will help prevent buildup on your gums, between your teeth, and on the surface of your teeth between now and when you brush next.
Remember: it prevents the plaque build-up, but doesn’t reduce the plaque that you already have.
3. HAVITY NO CAVITY!
Enamel is the hard, protective layer of your teeth. Acid (produced by bacteria or your intake from acidic food or drinks like soda) weakens enamel and creates cavities in or on your teeth’s surface.
You can reduce the chances of cavities forming if you use mouthwash before and after you brush and floss. A lot of mouthwash contains fluoride, which prevents cavities from forming and strengthens your enamel. Check the label of your mouthwash for flouride.
Take it from someone like me, who has never had a cavity :)
4. IT KEEPS THE GUM DISEASES AWAY
Have you ever brushed or floss your teeth and noticed bleeding? A study once found that half of Americans over 30 years old had bleeding gums. This can mean that your gums are infected by bacteria which can spread and destroy structures that support your teeth and jawbone.
Many people use mouthwash for cosmetic reasons like freshening breath or whitening teeth. There are, however, mouthwashes that kill germs related to gum disease. This kind of mouthwash provides chemotherapeutic agents that can clean the hard-to-reach area in your mouth. Did you know that only 20% of your oral environment is your tooth structure?
Use antiseptic mouthwash. Sometimes they taste nasty, but hey, at least you have a healthy mouth to taste good food with later!
5. YOUR DENTIST WILL SAY SO
Let’s be real about this topic: I am a business student with no experience in dentistry or oral hygiene. If the four reasons above don’t satisfy you, then perhaps it’s time to visit your good ol’ dentist.
I will tell you this, though: a lot of you already know that you should be using mouthwash, but choose not to. Aside from your breath smelling so much better, it is also beneficial for your overall oral health and hygiene. That said, using mouthwash alone won’t do the work for you. You have to clean your teeth properly at least twice a day.
You know what… now that we’re here, do you even floss?