Should I Use a Mouthwash?

added on: May 9, 2024

With so many mouthwashes available at your local drugstore, it may feel overwhelming trying to choose the right one. Many people are left wondering if they even need to use a mouthwash at all. The purpose of a good oral rinse is not only to make your breath minty fresh but to prevent gum disease and decay via antiseptic and antibacterial components.

Is Mouthwash Necessary for Oral Health?

Though mouthwash is a popular product within the oral health industry, it’s not necessarily integral to a pristine smile. Patients who regularly brush and floss their teeth may find that an oral rinse isn’t a required component of their routine.

However, mouthwash can have beneficial anti-microbial properties, which can help out with staying on top of bad breath. Other benefits of a dentist-recommended oral rinse can include:

  • Preventing decay
  • Alleviating bad breath
  • Reducing gingivitis
  • Fighting against dry mouth

While mouthwash can be a nice addition to your oral health routine, it should never be used to replace brushing and flossing.

When is the Best Time to Use Mouthwash?

Generally, swishing with an oral rinse immediately after brushing your teeth isn’t recommended. Patients should wait 30 minutes after brushing before using mouthwash, as this allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to do its work before being washed away.

Using mouthwash after eating a meal can also be useful, as it can help prevent bad breath and rinse away leftover food particles before you have a chance to brush later. If you’re using mouthwash in the morning, wait at least half an hour before eating or drinking to maximize the efficacy of the product.

Using the Right Mouthwash 

There are various types of mouthwash on the market today. Some are designed specifically to freshen breath, while others contain additional ingredients that can fight tooth decay. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, you’ll want to read the ingredients on the back of the bottle.

Active ingredients such as chlorhexidine, fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils are all common and serve different purposes. Many patients seek to avoid alcohol, dyes, and artificial sweeteners in their mouthwash. 

If you’re looking to reduce plaque and combat specific issues such as bad breath and decay, seek out a therapeutic mouthwash as opposed to a cosmetic one. These oral rinses may feature natural oils such as menthol, which are known to be anti-microbial, as well as remineralizing and antiseptic ingredients.

Modern Dentistry in Bend

Ponderosa Dental Center in Bend, OR, wants to help patients achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. Our team recommends that everyone brush at least twice a day and floss daily to maintain their oral health while also keeping up with regular dental cleaning appointments. Dr. De Graff can recommend a mouthwash to alleviate symptoms such as bad breath and dry mouth to help you reach your most confident smile.