Should you use mouthwash? The do’s and don’ts of mouthwash use

Posted: Jun 25, 2021 in

mouthwashWhen it comes to at-home dental care many of our patients want to know what benefits mouthwash has to your oral health. Using mouthwash should be added to your at-home teeth cleaning routine along with brushing and flossing.

What are the benefits of using mouthwash?

Using mouthwash regularly comes with many benefits with the biggest being clean breath. Since it is a liquid, mouthwash can reach those places you will not normally brush or floss like the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and inner cheeks. Your breath becomes fresh as mouthwash destroys the bacteria in these spots. A question often asked is if you should use mouthwash before or after your brush and floss and the good news is it will not matter. You can use mouthwash before or after you brush, and floss and it will still have the same benefits. Many types of mouthwash also contain fluoride which helps keep teeth healthy and fight cavities.

It is also important to note that using mouthwash should never be a substitute for brushing and flossing but should be added to your dental routine to help strengthen the benefits of good oral hygiene. There are mouthwashes that provide different benefits from each other. For some, their main purpose may only be to freshen breath while others may contain antibacterial qualities.

Can you overuse mouthwash?

It is important to always read the label of whatever mouthwash you use as it will likely have instructions on the correct way to use it. One of the main ingredients in mouthwash is alcohol. Alcohol destroys bacteria but it can also cause damage to your gums, inner cheeks, and tongue if overused. Mouthwashes that do not use alcohol instead use different forms of chloride. These chemicals help get rid of bacteria but can stain your teeth if overused. In general, you will always want to use the right amount indicated on the label or prescribed by your SW Calgary dentist.

It is important not to swallow as mouthwash contains fluoride which can be harmful if swallowed in large amounts. Fluoride is important for the health of your teeth but can be unhealthy to the body if you ingest too much of it. Wait at least 20-30 minutes after using mouthwash to eat or drink any foods as you do not want to wash away any of the beneficial substances. Again, as mentioned before mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing or from regular visits to your dentist but should be treated to enhance what you already do to take care of your oral health.

What types of mouthwash should you use?

Ideally, you want to find a mouthwash that kills bacteria and there are several things to consider when using the mouthwash and choosing the different types. Some mouthwashes are only designed to help with bad breath but do not provide any other benefits like killing bacteria and protecting your teeth. Some mouthwashes used mainly for plaque build-up may also contain anti-bacterial ingredients to help eliminate bacteria in the plaque. These can be beneficial when dealing with oral issues related to plaque or suffer from gingivitis.

Alcohol is a common ingredient in mouthwash mainly for its antibacterial and refreshing attributes. If you prefer to use alcohol-free mouthwash, they come in many different flavors from different manufactures. There are two main issues with a mouthwash that includes alcohol. Alcohol can cause reduced saliva production which can lead to mouth dryness and the other issue is when swallowing mouthwash that includes alcohol especially amongst children. If your household contains young children, you probably want to use an alcohol-free mouthwash instead.

Mouthwash designed for whitening teeth can have many of th3e same benefits as regular mouthwash. You will always want to see what the active ingredients are and if they kill bacteria. If it doesn’t kill bacteria then it might not be in your best interest to use. There are also cases where people might deal with tooth or gum sensitivity and using mouthwash causes irritation. There are mouthwashes that use more natural ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea extract, and chamomile. You can always as your dentists at Woodcreek Dental for the right type of mouthwash for you.