Do you need mouthwash? One dentist weighs in

Inman Park Dentistry's Dr. Alex Rodriguez says when it comes to mouthwashes, you have lots of options: over-the-counter, prescription, and make-it-yourself.

"And, as dentist, I recommend a person use any and all of them," Rodriguez says. 

There are different types of mouthwashes, depending on your oral needs.

"People that have mainly issues with their teeth, or a history of cavities or fillings, I strongly recommend they use a fluoride mouthwash," Rodriguez says.

ACT is a common over-the-counter fluoride rinse, he says.

For gum problems, try something else.

"If your gums aren't doing well, and the bleed a lot, or you have any gum disease, then you should be using a whole different class of mouthwashes," Dr. Rodriguez explains. "They're the  antiseptic mouthwashes."

Think, Listerine, or prescription rinses, which can can help kill germs.

Some people make their own rinses with diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

"The key, though, is to dilute it," Rodriguez says.  "You don't want to use straight peroxide. It can burn your gums, it can burn your tissues. "

Same thing with bleach.

It has to be diluted. 

Overdoing it can be risky.

"Aside from the horrible taste, a bleach solution is not only going to kill all the bad bacteria, it's also going to kill the good bacteria," he says.

Oil pulling also gaining popularity, as a way to as a way to improve oral health.

It's basically, you take oil, generally coconut oil, or you can use sesame oil and you put a glob of it in your mouth," Rodriguez says.  "They say glob because coconut oil at room temperature is usually solid."

You chew the glob until it melts,

"And then you swish with it," says Dr. Rodriguez.  "And you swish, and you swish, and you swish. For 20 minutes.

Which is a lot of swishing, he says. 

If you're not up for it, that's okay.

"It's far better to just take two minutes to brush, one minute to floss, 45 seconds to swish with a standard mouthwash like Listerine or ACT or something," Rodriguez says.  "And then you're done!"