What is antimicrobial mouthwash?

An antimicrobial mouthwash.

Mouthwash is a generic term for a liquid that a person splashes around their mouth after brushing their teeth. Antimicrobial means that the substance has some killing or controlling effect on microbes such as bacteria. An antimicrobial mouthwash, therefore, is a liquid that specifically aims to reduce or control the level of microbes in the mouth. This type of product can range from a mouthwash that contains antibiotics to one that has a milder effect.

Antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria and eliminate bad breath.

Antibiotics are a group of substances so good at killing bacteria that doctors give them to patients to get rid of an infection. Typically, because of their biological effect, mouthwash antibiotics are not sold over the counter. Mouthwashes with tetracycline or doxycycline are some examples.

An antimicrobial mouthwash, instead of containing an antibiotic, can contain any other substance that is considered antimicrobial and safe for regular oral use. A common example is chlorhexidine, which is an antiseptic. This means that the chemical is not as effective as antibiotics at killing bacteria, but rather that its main function is to stop the growth of microbes.

Many people use antimicrobial mouthwash along with brushing and flossing.

The mouth naturally contains microbes and these live harmlessly in most parts of the mouth and teeth. These natural bacteria appear to protect the oral environment from infections with other dangerous microbes. Because the mouth is part of the digestive system and many nutrients pass through it every day, sometimes the natural microbes in the mouth can overgrow and cause damage. The type of damage they can cause includes cavities and gum inflammation.

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In addition to mouthwash, some people also use antimicrobial toothpaste.

This type of damage is very common in humans, so brushing and flossing is a daily routine. While the mechanical act of brushing and flossing between teeth removes particles, plaque buildup, and food, microbial concentrations in the mouth can grow uncontrollably and cause damage. To keep microbe populations at a low level in the mouth, some people use a mouthwash as well as toothpaste, brushing and flossing.

Natural microbes in the mouth can cause cavities and inflammation of the gums.

Dental research generally shows that an antimicrobial mouthwash approved by a trusted dental association can reduce a person’s chance of developing gum inflammation or tooth decay that requires fillings. The amount of plaque on the teeth can also be reduced with regular use. Possible downsides to antimicrobial mouthwashes can include staining your teeth.

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