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Mouthwash DO’s and DON’Ts

General DentistryHealth Tips

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It is important to recognise that currently, no mouthwash is a substitute for routine oral hygiene measures. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is a MUST in your dental care routine, neither of which should be switched out for anything.

However, using mouthwash is important for keeping our mouths clean and fresh every day. It’s like a secret weapon that helps freshen breath, kill germs, and stop gum problems. But, using mouthwash the right way can be a bit tricky. There are so many types out there, and it’s hard to know which one is best for you and how to use it correctly. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about mouthwash. 

We’ll talk about how to use it properly, the different types you can find, and all the benefits it brings. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to make mouthwash work for you and what to avoid. Let’s dive in and become mouthwash experts!

What is Mouthwash?

Mouthwash is a liquid product for cleaning your mouth, freshening breath, and keeping your mouth healthy. People usually use it after brushing and flossing to get extra benefits that brushing alone might not provide.

There are different kinds like fluoride mouthwash, antibacterial mouthwash, and cosmetic mouthwash. Each type does something specific, like making enamel stronger, killing germs, or just making your breath better.

Using mouthwash every day as part of your oral care routine has lots of benefits. It helps kill germs, prevent bad breath, and reaches areas of your mouth that brushing and flossing might miss. Some mouthwashes even have fluoride, which can make your enamel stronger and prevent cavities.

Here we’ll explore how to use mouthwash effectively to get the most out of this important oral care product.

The Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Adding mouthwash to your teeth-cleaning routine can do more than just freshen your breath. It’s like a powerful helper in keeping your mouth healthy and clean. It can reach places in your mouth that a toothbrush and floss might miss, helping to kill germs and stop plaque from building up. Also, it can lower the risk of getting cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Plus, using mouthwash with fluoride can make your tooth enamel stronger and protect against cavities. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, there are special ones that can give you relief and make you feel better. And, using mouthwash can be handy when you’re on the go and can’t brush or floss.

But, it’s really important to pick the right kind of mouthwash for what you need and to use it correctly. Some are made for specific things like whitening, sensitivity relief, or killing germs. Always read the directions on the bottle and use the right amount to avoid any bad side effects.

Adding mouthwash to your daily teeth-cleaning routine can make your mouth feel fresher and healthier. Just remember, it isn’t a replacement for brushing and flossing. But it is an important extra step for keeping your mouth clean and happy.

Understanding the Different Types

When it comes to picking the right mouthwash, knowing the different types available is really important. It isn’t one-size-fits-all, and understanding the differences can help you choose the best one for your needs.

Basically, there are two main kinds of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes are mainly for freshening breath and covering up bad smells temporarily. They don’t really give long-lasting benefits for your mouth. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwashes have active ingredients that target specific problems like plaque buildup, gum disease, or sensitive teeth.

Within these groups, there are more types, like fluoride-based that make your enamel stronger and prevent cavities, and antiseptic which kill germs to reduce plaque and gum disease. It’s important to read labels and pick a mouthwash that matches up with your goals for your mouth.

Mouthwash Do’s and Don’ts

DO’s: Best Practices

Using mouthwash is a really important part of keeping your mouth super clean. Here are some tips to make sure you’re using it the best way:

  1. Read the instructions: Different mouthwashes have different ways to use them, so it’s super important to read the instructions carefully and follow them exactly. This helps you use it the right way.
  2. Use the right amount: Most mouthwashes say how much to use, usually around 20ml. Using too little might not work well, but using too much could be wasteful and might not be good for you.
  3. Rinse, don’t swallow: Pour the liquid into a cup, swish it around your mouth for the recommended time (usually 30 seconds to one minute), and then spit it out. Don’t swallow it, because it’s not meant to be swallowed.
  4. Time it right: Use mouthwash a little while after brushing and flossing your teeth for the best results. This helps clean your mouth really well and makes your breath fresh without rinsing away the active ingredients in toothpaste.
  5. Use it regularly: Include mouthwash in your everyday routine for the best results. Using it often can help reduce plaque, fight germs, and keep your mouth healthy.
  6. Choose an alcohol free mouthwash: This will be more gentle and a lot kinder to all the soft tissues in the mouth. Alcohol free will also help to avoid dry mouth.
  7. Make sure it contains fluoride: Fluoride will help strengthen enamel and desensitise the teeth. It is a great addition to your oral health care routine if you have been told that you are at risk from dental decay as it will further help to reduce decay.
  8. Use mouthwash during the day: Rather than limiting yourself to only using it after you have brushed your teeth, use your mouthwash at any point during the day. After eating is a great time to help neutralise PH in your mouth and resists damage from acids by rinsing your mouth.

By following these tips for using mouthwash the right way, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of this important mouth-cleaning product.

DON’Ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to using mouthwash, there are some common mistakes that many people make without realizing it. Avoiding these slip-ups can help you get the most out of your mouthwash routine and ensure your mouth stays super healthy.

  • DO NOT rely on mouthwash to remove plaque: Mouthwash will not remove your plaque. It is not designed for that purpose. Only brushing your teeth and cleaning in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes will do this, so these parts of your dental routine are absolutely paramount. It is meant to be an addition to your dental care routine, not a substitution.
  • DO NOT rinse mouthwash with water after: If you rinse your mouth with water straight after using a mouthwash you will be washing away all the beneficial ingredients before they have even gotten a chance to work.
  • DO NOT overuse mouthwash: Once a day is more than enough to use mouthwash. Overuse can disturb your oral microbial balance therefore, doing your oral health more harm than good.
  • DO NOT use mouthwash if you notice new mouth ulcers or new staining on your teeth: If this occurs right after you begin to use the mouthwash, it is a likely sign that this particular product may not be right for you.
  • DO NOT use just after brushing: One big mistake is using mouthwash right after brushing your teeth. Even though it might seem like a good idea to freshen your breath right after brushing, it can actually wash away the fluoride from your toothpaste, which helps protect your teeth from cavities. Waiting at least 30 minutes after brushing before rinsing is better.
  • DO NOT swallow: Make sure not to swallow mouthwash, because most have ingredients that aren’t meant to be swallowed. Swishing the liquid around in your mouth for the recommended time and then spitting it out is the right way to use it.

Be careful not to let mouthwash mask problems you may be having without getting to the cause of the issue.

Did You Know?

  • If it tingles, it’s working! That tingly feeling you get from some mouthwashes is often due to alcohol or menthol. Alcohol acts as an antiseptic, zapping the bacteria in your mouth, while menthol gives that cool, refreshing feeling.
  • Your mouthwash can actually expire! Just like your favourite yogurt, mouthwash doesn’t last forever. Generally, it can stay potent for a couple of years if stored in a cool, dark place. However, after that, it might lose its effectiveness and become less pleasant to use.
  • Ancient Egyptians had their own version of mouthwash! They used a mixture of cinnamon, myrrh, and honey to freshen their breath and maintain oral hygiene. While not as sophisticated as modern mouthwashes, it shows people have been caring for their breath for centuries. Source: [A Brief History of Mouthwash – Colgate].

How to Choose the Right Mouthwash for Your Specific Needs

Choosing the perfect mouthwash for your mouth is really important for keeping your teeth super clean. With so many mouthwash options out there, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Here are some important things to think about when picking a mouthwash that fits your needs:

  1. Fluoride Content: If you’re prone to cavities or enamel erosion, pick a mouthwash with fluoride. Fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and helps prevent decay.
  2. Anti-Bacterial Properties: If you have gum disease or bad breath, you might benefit from an antibacterial mouthwash. Look for ingredients like chlorhexidine or natural oils like tea tree oil that fight bacteria and plaque.
  3. Sensitivity Relief: If your teeth or gums are sensitive, choose a mouthwash made to help with sensitivity. These mouthwashes often have ingredients like potassium nitrate or arginine that help ease discomfort.
  4. Whitening Effect: If you want to brighten your smile, think about using a whitening mouthwash. It can help remove surface stains and keep your smile bright. Look for mouthwashes with whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
  5. Alcohol-Free Option: If you have dry mouth or don’t like alcohol, go for an alcohol-free mouthwash to avoid irritation or discomfort.

By thinking about these things and your own mouth needs, you can pick the perfect product that fits into your dental care routine. Remember, it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist or oral health professional for personalized recommendations.

Tips for Using Mouthwash

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your mouthwash and getting all its benefits, here are some simple tips:

  1. Choose the Right Mouthwash: Different mouthwashes do different things, like freshening breath or controlling plaque. Pick one that matches what you want for your mouth.
  2. Follow the Directions: Always read and follow the instructions on the mouthwash bottle. Whether it’s how much to use or how long to swish, following the rules makes it work better.
  3. Timing Matters: Use mouthwash at the right time for the best results. It’s usually best to use it after brushing and flossing to make sure it reaches everywhere. However, it is important not to use it just after brushing. If you do, you’ll wash away all the active ingredients in the toothpaste you have just used.
  4. Swish, Don’t Gargle: When you use mouthwash, swish it around your mouth for the recommended time instead of just gargling. This helps it reach all areas, even between your teeth and along your gums.
  5. Wait Before Eating or Drinking: Don’t eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after using mouthwash. This gives the active ingredients time to work without getting washed away.
  6. Don’t Dilute: Even though it might seem like a good idea to water down mouthwash to make it milder, it can actually make it less effective. Use it straight from the bottle for the best results.

By following these tips in your daily oral care routine, you can get the most out of your mouthwash and keep your mouth clean and healthy.

The Role of Mouthwash in Preventing Dental Issues Such as Cavities and Gum Disease

Mouthwash is really important for keeping your mouth clean and preventing dental problems like cavities and gum disease. When you use it right as part of your overall mouth care routine, mouthwash can do more than just freshen your breath.

One big benefit of using mouthwash is that it reaches places in your mouth that brushing and flossing might miss. These are areas between your teeth and along your gums where plaque and bacteria can build up and cause cavities and gum disease.

Mouthwash with fluoride can make your tooth enamel stronger and protect against cavities by making your teeth stronger. Also, mouthwashes with germ-fighting properties can reduce the bacteria in your mouth that lead to gum disease, helping to prevent gum inflammation and infections.

But remember, while mouthwash is important, it’s not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and daily flossing are still the most important parts of good mouth care.

Adding mouthwash to your daily routine, along with proper brushing and flossing, can help keep your smile healthy and prevent dental problems in the long run. Just make sure to choose a mouthwash that fits your mouth’s needs and follow the instructions for using it to get the most benefits.

Conclusion: Mastering Mouthwash for Optimal Oral Health

In summary, using mouthwash is super important for keeping your mouth healthy. By following the DO’s and DON’Ts in this helpful guide, you can make sure you’re using it the right way to keep your mouth fresh and healthy.

Remember to pick a product that matches what you need for your mouth, whether it’s fighting plaque and gum disease, freshening breath, or whitening teeth. Use mouthwash every day after brushing and flossing to keep your mouth super clean.

Avoid common mistakes like using mouthwash instead of brushing and flossing, swallowing mouthwash, or using it too much. Using mouthwash too often can have bad side effects and might not give you extra benefits.

By following the tips in this guide, you can get the most out of your mouthwash and have a super healthy mouth. Remember, keeping your mouth healthy takes time, so make mouthwash a regular part of your daily routine for a healthy and bright smile.

Book an appointment with the Hygienist

To make sure you’re cleaning your teeth and gums as thoroughly as you should be, book an appointment with our dental hygienist today. We will perform a thorough deep clean, as well as giving you tips and advice on your dental care routine.

Find out more about our dental hygiene services.

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