It is essential to remember that no mouthwash is a replacement for the regular oral care routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. While mouthwash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing provide different benefits that you should understand. So, even if you are using mouthwash on a daily basis, you still need to follow your complete oral care routine to maintain good dental health.
Mouthwashes can help in preventing cavities, bad breath and gingivitis when used with brushing and flossing. Some oral rinses may be able to soften up plaque and kill microorganisms but neither of these effects is fractionally as effective as flossing. Only mechanical debridement (scrubbing and scraping) can adequately remove dental plaque from a tooth’s surface. So, you still need to floss on a regular basis!
Types of floss
Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.
Flossing is what removes the plaque accumulation before it can harden and become calculus. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If plaque is not removed, the acidity produced by the bacteria in it will start causing decalcifications and cavities underneath. The gums around the teeth will also get irritated and this is when gum disease can start.
Floss is designed to help you to get to those hard-to-reach places, allowing you to clean the areas that can’t be reached by the toothbrush. This habit helps you get to the surfaces that are located between the teeth and near the gum line.
One common misconception is that you can use mouthwash instead of flossing. The truth is that mouthwash might help to reduce the bacteria present in your mouth, but it won’t be able to get rid of biofilm (white and pasty looking) that can accumulate on the teeth.
If you use mouthwash, then it is important to make sure that you are also flossing on a regular basis. Mouthwash is not a sufficient alternative to flossing.