Mouthwash is marketed as a necessity for dental hygiene alongside toothpaste and dental floss. But is it really necessary? And how and when should you use mouthwash to get the most benefits?
Here’s what the experts at our dental clinic in Donvale have to say about mouthwash.
Is Mouthwash Really Necessary?
For most people with relatively healthy teeth and gums who brush properly, mouthwash isn’t necessary.
Brushing your teeth with toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily should be enough to clean your teeth thoroughly.
However, using mouthwash properly will not cause damage to your teeth and mouth, and it can help to kill any remaining bacteria that you may have missed.
Mouthwash containing fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay but not as much as the concentrated fluoride that’s in most toothpaste.
Many people like to use mouthwash to freshen their breath. While mouthwash can certainly be a temporary fix for bad breath, it won’t fix the cause of bad breath. It’s best to make an appointment with your dentist to get advice on how to get rid of bad breath for good.
Do Dentists Recommend Mouthwash?
If you have a lot of cavities, suffer from gum problems, or have trouble brushing and flossing your teeth correctly, your dentist might recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash.
But remember that mouthwash should never take the place of brushing and flossing your teeth. Mouthwash doesn’t clean your teeth and you should consider it an extra step to your dental hygiene routine.
If it’s inconvenient or not possible to brush your teeth after eating at lunchtime, for example, you might like to use mouthwash instead. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals can also help to clean acid-causing bacteria.
Should You Use Mouthwash Before or After Brushing?
Ideally, your teeth should be clean before using mouthwash. This means you should brush first.
However, it’s important not to use mouthwash or to rinse your mouth with water straight after brushing your teeth. This is because toothpaste contains fluoride and other minerals that can help to strengthen your teeth and mouthwash can wash it away.
Make sure to wait a while after brushing your teeth before using mouthwash – ideally at least 30 minutes.
It’s ok to use mouthwash at other times of the day to quickly freshen your breath. But you should avoid using it too much. Mouthwash containing alcohol, in particular, can dry out your mouth and cause irritation.
Some ingredients in mouthwash can also cause stains on your teeth if you use them too frequently or for long periods. Make sure you check the label on your mouthwash for usage instructions.
How to Choose a Mouthwash
Look at the ingredients on the mouthwash label to see what ingredients it contains. Try to choose one with fluoride and anti-microbial ingredients for optimal oral health.
It’s best to ask your dentist to recommend a mouthwash suitable for your particular dental concerns. Make an appointment with our dentist in Donvale for personalised advice.