mouthwash questions

Should You Use Mouthwash? Answers to Common Questions

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are both essential steps in a good oral hygiene routine, but what about mouthwash? Using mouthwash may not seem like it is as effective at protecting your teeth as brushing and flossing, but it is a very helpful step in keeping your mouth clean and healthy. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you get the most out of your teeth cleaning routine. Continue reading to learn answers to common questions like why you should be using mouthwash every day. 

Common Questions About Mouthwash

Why Should I Rinse with Mouthwash?

Mouthwash does a lot more than simply freshen your breath. You should include using mouthwash in your daily oral hygiene routine because it removes food particles from between your teeth and reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Plus, mouthwash that contains xylitol promotes healthy saliva production to help get rid of bacteria naturally.

Mouthwash also helps prevent plaque from turning into tartar, which is very difficult to remove from the surface of your teeth. When combined with brushing and flossing, using mouthwash once or twice a day can help reduce your chances of developing cavities and gum disease, and prevent the other consequences of tooth decay. 

Can Children Use Mouthwash?

It is safe for children over the age of 6 to use mouthwash, as long as they have learned to always spit after rinsing. Children under 6 years old should not rinse with mouthwash because they tend to swallow it, which could lead to fluorosis over time. 

Dental fluorosis can cause white spots on the teeth or, in rare cases, cause pits to form in the enamel. Because dental fluorosis only occurs during tooth development, only children under the age of 8 can be affected. However, adults and children over 8 years old can experience other negative effects from swallowing too much mouthwash, such as dizziness and drowsiness.

When Should You Use Mouthwash?

Many people wonder whether they should rinse before or after brushing their teeth. The answer is simple—use your mouthwash as directed. The type of mouthwash you use and the ingredients it contains will determine whether you should rinse before or after brushing. 

However, if you use a fluoride toothpaste, you should avoid rinsing with mouthwash immediately after brushing. Rinsing too soon can wash away the fluoride and make the toothpaste less effective, so rinse after flossing and before brushing, or wait at least 30 minutes after brushing to use mouthwash.

Which Type of Mouthwash Is Best?

There are many kinds of mouthwash out there, so it is important to choose the best one to fit your needs:

  • Antibacterial mouthwash is best for bad breath, because it can help reduce excessive bacteria.
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash is necessary if you suffer from dry mouth. Mouthwash with alcohol will only dry out your mouth further.
  • Fluoride mouthwash can help strengthen your teeth and relieve tooth sensitivity.
  • If you are at risk for gum disease, your dentist may prescribe a mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine to kill the bacteria in your mouth. 

How Do You Effectively Use Mouthwash?

  1. Pour three to four teaspoons of mouthwash into a cup.
  2. Rinse your mouth for 30 seconds while swishing and gargling.
  3. Spit out—never swallow—the mouthwash.
  4. Enjoy clean, fresh breath!

Professional Teeth Cleaning in Gilbert    

Knowing how and why you should use mouthwash will help strengthen your oral hygiene routine. For fresher breath and overall better oral health, you also need to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist. Professional teeth cleanings and exams from Lifetime Family Dental are gentle, thorough, and help stop tooth decay in its tracks. To schedule an appointment, call 480-558-4331 today.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/14/2021). Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash