Mouthwash is a common oral healthcare product used by millions of individuals every day. But is mouthwash absolutely essential? The answer may surprise you. We’ll explore the answer to that question here and offer some tips and tricks for proper use.

Is Mouthwash Essential to Oral Health?

In simple terms, no. Mouthwash isn’t a crucial aspect of your oral hygiene routine, despite what many individuals believe. However, it can be enjoyable to use and many consider it a luxury of sorts.

While mouthwash can be beneficial for keeping oral bacteria at bay, it is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, brush two to three times a day with a soft-bristled brush, use fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Mouthwash can be an important tool when rinsing out additional bacteria and food particles brushing and flossing can leave behind. Read on to learn more about its recommended use.

Use Mouthwash to Enhance Your Oral Hygiene Routine

There are times when mouthwash can serve as an excellent supplemental product. While nothing beats brushing and flossing, you can use mouthwash to rinse away food particles and other debris when brushing isn’t practical or possible.

If you’re going to incorporate mouthwash into your routine, you must use it properly. Many individuals use it immediately after brushing their teeth. However, this is actually problematic, especially if you use a fluoride toothpaste (which you should)! After you’re done brushing, the fluoride sits on the teeth and remineralizes them. Mouthwash rinses the fluoride away, which is counter-productive for fighting cavities.

Therefore, the most important thing to consider when using mouthwash is when to incorporate it into your day. Instead of using mouthwash after you brush, try rinsing just before bedtime or after lunch.

Mouthwash Tips and Recommendations

When it comes to mouthwash, all formulas aren’t created equal. There are some things to consider when deciding on a brand. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Understand your oral health needs and shop accordingly. Mouthwashes come in a variety of types, but they can be broken down into two primary categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. Fluoride rinses can help fight cavities and antibacterial rinses can help combat gum disease. Unless your mouthwash has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, it’s likely not doing much other than temporarily freshening your breath.
  • If you have chronic bad breath, mouthwash won’t help. Just about everyone has bad breath from time to time, particularly after eating onions, garlic, or similar foods. However, if you have lingering, persistent bad breath, it could be indicative of gum disease or another serious medical issue. If you have chronic bad breath, visit your dentist immediately.
  • Swish for at least 30 seconds. Many individuals rinse or gargle for a few seconds before spitting. The truth is, mouthwash is only effective if it comes in contact with your oral tissues for at least 30 seconds.
  • Some mouthwash formulas can cause dry mouth. Always read the label. If your mouthwash has high alcohol content, consider swapping it for another formula. Alcohol can dry out your mouth and irritate the tissues. These side effects can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish.

The bottom line: Mouthwash isn’t necessary. But if you enjoy using it, be sure to choose a product that will enhance your oral hygiene routine, not diminish it.

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