When to Use Mouthwash

Not sure if you need to use mouthwash? Often an overlooked oral hygiene product, there are many reasons why you should add mouthwash to your oral health care routine.

The following guide will tell you all you need to know about this crucial part of dental hygiene, including when to use mouthwash, how to use mouthwash, and the best mouthwashes on the market.

What Exactly is Mouthwash?

Mouthwash – which is also known as an oral rinse – is an oral care product designed to banish bad breath and help keep mouth bacteria at bay. Although it should not be used as a replacement for brushing your teeth and flossing, it’s an excellent addition to your daily dental care routine.

There are many different types of mouthwash available, some of which are designed solely for freshening your breath, and others that include ingredients for fighting tooth decay. You can even get antibacterial mouthwashes that aim to eliminate any bad bacteria in the mouth and fight off common dental diseases such as gingivitis. 

How to Use Mouthwash Effectively

To make sure you are getting the most out of your mouthwash, follow the below steps:

  1. Brush Your Teeth First

You should always brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste before you use a mouthwash. If you floss, this should also be carried about prior to rinsing with a mouthwash. Furthermore, waiting a little while before using a mouthwash after brushing your teeth is always better, as the mouthwash may rinse off the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste.

  1. Make Sure You Use the Right Amount

It should clearly state on the label how much mouthwash you need to use, so make sure you read this carefully beforehand. Always ensure that you use the recommended amount; otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good to your teeth.

  1. Swish Vigorously

There is no point in just letting your chosen mouthwash sit in your mouth for a few seconds. For it to work effectively, you must ensure that you vigorously swish it around your mouth for at least 30 seconds. 

  1. Never Swallow

Mouthwash is not designed to be consumed, so always make sure that you spit it out once you have swirled it around your mouth. Fluoride oral rinses can be toxic, so you should never swallow these.

  1. Wait Before Eating or Drinking

To get the most benefit from your chosen mouthwash, try to refrain from eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after use. You should also avoid smoking directly after using a mouthwash.

When to Use Mouthwash

Some people use mouthwash as an oral rinse in their daily dental care routine, while others use it when needed to combat bad breath. So, which is right? It’s time to take a closer look to answer this common question.

There is no hard and fast rule about the use of mouthwash, and you may find that one dentist tells you one thing, and another advises something else entirely. Ultimately, it is down to personal preference. If you struggle with bad breath regularly or are prone to tooth decay, gum disease, and plaque buildup, it may be a good idea to add this additional mouth-cleaning step to your routine.

However, the most important thing to remember is that you must always use mouthwash after brushing and flossing. It is not an effective replacement for these two crucial oral health care steps and cannot clean your teeth on its own; it is purpose-designed to work hand in hand with brushing and flossing.

How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?

Another commonly asked question is this: how often should you be using mouthwash for optimum oral hygiene? If you read the label on any mouthwash product, you will find that most recommend using them twice daily as part of a normal oral health regime.

However, as mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing, it’s not needed to keep your teeth clean; it merely complements and enhances the process of keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy. Therefore, you can use it when you want or need it.

How to Choose Mouthwash

Whether you want to freshen your breath, protect your teeth, or get rid of gum disease, you will be able to find the right mouthwash for your oral healthcare needs. Of course, there are numerous different kinds, which means you need to check the label to see if it’s the correct one for you personally. To help, consider the following points when shopping for mouthwash:

  1. Does it Contain Alcohol?

Alcohol is an ingredient in many mouthwashes, but if you are planning to buy one mouthwash for the whole family and you have children, then you may prefer to look for an alcohol-free one. 

  1. Is it Suitable for Sensitive Teeth?

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you may worry about how a mouthwash will affect them. Fortunately, there are lots of mouthwashes available for people with sensitive teeth and gums, including ones that are alcohol-free and those that contain only natural ingredients.

  1. Does it Prevent Plaque Buildup?

Most mouthwashes promise to banish bad breath, but you can also get ones that prevent plaque buildup. Look for one that contains anti-plaque ingredients – although, do be warned that these can be a little bit more expensive.

If you are unsure which mouthwash is right for you, it can be a good idea to consult your dentist before making a purchase. This is particularly important if you suffer from dental health problems such as tooth decay, bad breath, tooth or gum sensitivity, or even allergies to certain ingredients in mouthwash. 

How to Use Mouthwash Safely

As mentioned earlier, most mouthwashes contain alcohol as well as high levels of fluoride, which means they are not suitable for children under the age of six. They are also not recommended for recovering alcoholics who may become triggered by the ingredients within alcohol-based rinses.

Additionally, you should never swallow mouthwash; however, if you ingest a small amount, you are highly unlikely to become unwell since such tiny quantities are not that dangerous.

If you have open sores or lesions in your mouth, then you should speak to your dentist before choosing a mouthwash to avoid any irritation or discomfort since some mouthwashes – especially the strong ones – can aggravate certain oral conditions or injuries.

Those that suspect that they have gum disease and tooth decay should also consult their dentist first because it is very unlikely that mouthwash alone can cure this issue.

See Your Dentist

Finally, it’s crucial to remember that mouthwash isn’t a substitute for skipping regular visits to the dentist either. No matter how much you clean your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash, routine dental checkups are a vital part of oral care, so make sure to schedule appointments at least twice a year to keep your mouth in peak health.

Here at our friendly Asheville dentist practice, we welcome new patients of all ages and strive to provide a warm and welcoming service for your family. So, if you require any information about oral health or need a professional yet compassionate dentist to help you look after your teeth, get in touch with our team.