If you rub your finger across the front of your teeth, you might feel a sticky film called plaque. If you do feel a sticky substance on your teeth, it might be time to give your teeth some attention. Brushing regularly and using mouthwash can help alleviate plaque buildup. It’s normal to have some plaque on your teeth after a meal, but to avoid plaque buildup, you should visit a dentist regularly. Maintaining dental hygiene is important because the plaque on your teeth contains bacteria and after eating specific food and beverages, it can release certain acids that can attack your tooth enamel. Taking a swig of mouthwash after you brush your teeth can help keep plaque at bay and prevent bacteria buildup.
Preventing Plaque Buildup
Brushing after meals is the key to helping prevent plaque buildup, but using mouthwash regularly can also assist greatly with your hygiene regime. Listerine mouthwash claims to reduce 52% more plaque than brushing and flossing alone. When you neglect plaque inside your mouth, it can get caught between your teeth and eventually harden into tartar. It slides under your gum line and sticks to fillings or other dental work in your mouth. Not only does this make it more difficult to keep your teeth clean, it can lead to serious teeth and gum problems. Using a mouthwash can help fight off the bad bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease is usually painless and you may not even know you have it. When tartar gets under your gum line, the gum tissue can become inflamed and swollen. You may not notice that your gums are puffier than usual, but you may notice if your gums are bleeding. Gum disease, also called gingivitis is a common problem and telling signs include gums that bleed easily, bad breath and tender or swollen gums. Using antiseptic mouthwash regularly helps prevent plaque and gum disease. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), mouth rinses can help reduce plaque, prevent gum disease and slow down the tartar buildup on your teeth. Since mouthwash ingredients can include antimicrobial agents, the rinse acts directly on the bacteria in your mouth, which can also help control bad breath.
Avoiding Enamel Breakdown
If your enamel breaks down because of too much plaque buildup and acidic effects, you can end up with pain and other chronic issues. Weak enamel can lead to tooth erosion, discolored teeth and fracturing. Using a mouthwash can help prevent enamel breakdown, but you may need a dentist to help restore problematic erosion.
Differences in Mouthwash
Your mouthwash preference will depend on your comfort level with the ingredients. Some folks want a real bite to their mouthwash and choose to swish around an antiseptic rinse with an intense flavor. There is no standard mouthwash product and there are several types of mouthwash available. Some rinses are medicinal, others meant to reduce germs, and other mouthwashes are created to freshen breath or whiten teeth. There is no standard reply to how many times you should use mouthwash either. Of course, using it before or after you brush and floss can help rinse out debris from your mouth.
Gargling and swishing mouthwash inside your mouth is similar to when you visit the dentist and receive a good irrigation that helps extricate food stuck between your teeth and up inside your gums. Daily use of a mouthwash can help create the same effect at home.
Taking Care of Your Teeth & Mouth
You can’t depend on mouthwash alone. Brushing and regular trips to the dentist are essential to maintaining optimal dental hygiene. Yes, mouthwash is an effective tool in the fight against gum disease, tooth decay and enamel erosion, but you will need more than a swirl or two to help fight off serious dental problems. You should talk to a dentist about the right brush, mouth rinse and other preventative methods to help your specific dental needs. Not everyone wants a soft brush or can deal with intense mouthwash, but we all need a good strategy for healthy teeth and gums. A trip to your dentist can help.
Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may need to find one that suits your needs. Jot down what is important to you about a dentist and what kind of personality you prefer. Some people want a dentist that is friendly and outgoing, while others prefer the silent type that only offers the facts when you need them. If you know what kind of procedures you will need, whether it is simply a cleaning and X-rays or you have a problem with your teeth and gums, make a list so you can check your dental insurance coverage or dental plan. If it has been so long, that your coverage has lapsed, you may need to research dental plans and dental insurance options that will fit your budget and needs.
Find the Right Dentist for You
Look at your list of needs and compare it to the dental plans and insurance coverage available in your area. If you require an emergency visit to the dentist for a throbbing tooth, you may want to consider a dental plan that doesn’t require a waiting period. You can save on dental care, prescriptions and other healthcare services, when you opt for the Vital Savings By Aetna® Dental and Prescription Discount Program. If you only need discounted rates on dental care, the Vital Savings By Aetna® Dental Discount Program may be more suitable.
A dental plan usually activates within 72 hours of purchase, so you can start looking for a dentist near your home from the 161,000+ providers in the Aetna Vital Savings Network. Once you find a dentist, you can call and schedule an appointment. A good thing about a dental plan is that unlike traditional dental insurance, there is no paperwork to file, restrictions on existing conditions, waiting periods, or annual limits. You can start using your membership savings after you confirm a dental appointment.