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Mouthwash – To Use or Not to Use?

Did you know your mouth harbors as many as 500 to 650 different species of bacteria? These bacteria live on your gums, teeth, and tongue. Brushing and flossing do an excellent job of removing the bacteria, plaque, and food debris. For an extra hedge of protection, you may be wondering if a mouthwash or mouth rinse is a good addition to your oral hygiene routine.

Mouthwash vs Mouth Rinse

Mouthwash and mouth rinses are two different types of products. Mouthwash is mainly a cosmetic rinse used to freshen your breath. It comes in a wide variety of flavors and helps to neutralize odors. Mouth rinses contain antimicrobial ingredients which kill bacteria and help prevent decay. Mouth rinses can also be used to reduce cavities, bad breath, plaque, tartar, and gingivitis.
Most mouthwashes contain alcohol. If you have a dry mouth or experience a burning sensation when you use mouthwash, you could choose a non-alcohol mouthwash. Non-alcohol mouthwashes are just as effective as reducing cavities, decay, and gum disease as ones containing alcohol. Some studies have shown non-alcohol washes may do a better job at whitening and adding gloss to your teeth than ones containing alcohol.


The American Dental Association reports mouthwashes help slow down the formation of tartar, reduce gingivitis, freshen your breath, and prevent tooth decay. Mouthwashes which contain fluoride help strengthen your teeth by a process called remineralization. Remineralization rebuilds the enamel of your teeth making them stronger and less prone to decay. Mouthwash also eliminates odor and freshens your breath.

How to Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash is one of the easiest ways to add to your at home oral hygiene. It doesn’t matter if you use mouthwash before or after you brush and floss. Read the directions on the bottle and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds so that it comes into contact with all of your teeth and gums. Spit it out and you’re good to go.
Supervise small children and let them swish water first so they get used to not swallowing before they use mouthwash. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is a good idea to avoid fluoride mouthwash for children under six. Also look for a non-alcohol choice for children.
So, the answer to mouthwash, to use or not to use, would be a resounding yes. If you have questions about which mouthwash is best for you, call or contact us today.