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Life-long habits of oral health care begin with brushing and flossing. But what if you have already built a habit of brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, and flossing once a day? What else can you do to take care of your teeth? Try adding a mouthwash!

There are two categories of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes freshen breath temporarily by simply masking the halitosis with a stronger scent. Therapeutic mouthwash, however, actually cleans your mouth. There are therapeutic mouthwashes designed for specific oral health care tasks, such as adding fluoride, killing bacteria, whitening teeth, or loosening plaque before brushing.

Ask Dr. Paul Lee about your specific mouth health to determine what kind of mouthwash would work best for you. Whatever you decide, always look for products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This seal ensures that the product does what it claims to do, because the ADA requires rigorous testing before granting the seal.

Never give mouthwash to children under 6 years of age, or any person who is at risk of swallowing it. Swallowing mouthwash can lead to nausea, vomiting, or intoxication due to the large amount of alcohol present in the mouthwash. If you choose to avoid alcohol for any reason, read labels carefully and buy a non-alcoholic mouthwash.

For more information on mouthwash and your dental health care plan, call Dr. Paul Lee in Fairfax, Virginia, at 703-352-9600. Dr. Paul Lee and our team are happy to help!