Question:  Should I be using a mouthwash?  If so, what kind should I use?
Answer:  There are generally two types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic.  Cosmetic mouthwashes simply mask bad tastes and odors in the mouth and leave you with fresh breath for a short time, but they don’t do anything to prevent the causes of bad breath or tooth decay.  Scope mouthwash is an example of a cosmetic mouthwash.  I recommend that my patients use a therapeutic mouthwash that kills the germs that cause gum disease and bad breath.  Listerine mouthwash is an example of a good therapeutic mouthwash. Another type of mouthwash is beneficial to people who may have a higher risk for tooth decay, especially children and teens.  Using a fluoride mouthwash, such as Act Fluoride Rinse, on a daily basis is a great way to strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent tooth decay.  Using a daily mouthwash is a great way to prevent gum disease or tooth decay, but there is no substitute for good brushing and flossing habits.  Ask your dentist to help you choose a mouthwash that is right for you.