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What does it take to ensure total dental health? This is a question that was brought up by the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority, which recently ordered the Listerine mouthwash company to stop running a radio advertisement that seemed to claim that brushing is not enough, and that people need to use mouthwash as well if they want to have a healthy mouth. According to the ASA, this claim is an unsubstantiated one, and there is no proof that mouthwash is an integral part of an oral health routine.
"Although we understood that most oral health advice emphasized the importance of cleaning in between teeth in addition to brushing, we had not been provided with evidence that it was generally accepted within the dental community that the use of a mouthwash was necessary to maintain oral health," said an ASA spokesperson, quoted by The Huffington Post U.K.
However, Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Listerine, said that they were disappointed by this ruling because there is evidence that mouthwash is an important part of a dental care routine.
How important is mouthwash?
According to the American Dental Association, mouthwash is used for a variety of reasons. While some people simply use it to freshen their breath, others use it to control tooth decay and reduce the amount of plaque on their teeth. On its website, the ADA answers the question: Do people need mouthwash? The answer they give is that a dentist can advise each individual about whether he or she needs to make mouthwash part of a daily oral health routine.
The organization added that some mouthwashes can provide additional protection against cavities, and that rinses can help wash away food debris from the mouth that may get left behind. This debris can serve as food for the bacteria in the mouth that damage teeth, which is why it is important to make sure that no food is left behind after eating.
However, the ADA also stressed that mouthwashes can never replace brushing and flossing, and that people always need to be sure to brush and floss and then, if they choose, use mouthwash to help reach any spaces in the mouth that they may have missed.
So, in the end, people need to make their own decisions about whether they should use mouthwash. While it may not be 100 percent necessary for everyone's dental health routine, it may be good for some.
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