Why You Really Should Use Mouthwash

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Although your dentist might not promote the importance of rinsing with mouthwash as much as brushing and flossing, you might want to incorporate mouthwash into your regular routine.

According to new research published in General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), using a germ-killing mouthwash in addition to regular brushing can drastically reduce plaque and gingivitis, more so than just brushing alone.  

"It's simple—mouth rinses can reach nearly 100 percent of the mouth's surfaces, while brushing focuses on the teeth, which make up only 25 percent of the mouth," says lead author Christine A. Charles. "Even with regular brushing and flossing, bacteria often are left behind." 

But be careful not to use any old mouthwash. Not all mouth rinses are formulated to kill germs, some are meant to whiten teeth or prevent cavities so be sure to pick one that claims to kill germs on the label. Listerine Ultraclean mouthwash ($5) protects against plaque and gingivitis germs for 24-hours when used twice a day. 

"Most people brush their teeth for less than 1 minute, when, at the very least, they should be brushing for 2 minutes. Additionally, only 2 to 10 percent of people floss regularly and effectively," adds AGD Spokesperson Dr. Janice Pliszczak. "Adding a germ-killing mouth rinse twice a day to your daily routine is another way to attack the germs that can cause significant oral health problems."  

The added benefit of fresher breath won’t hurt either. Do you use mouthwash? Which one?

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