Many people like to include mouthwash as part of their oral hygiene routine because it gives them a feeling of freshness. However, many do not know the most effective, dentist-recommended ways to use mouthwash to allow it to have the greatest possible effect on their dental health. Use these tips to help you to use mouthwash more effectively.
1. You Still Need to Brush and Floss
The most important thing to know about mouthwash is that it is not a replacement for brushing or flossing. The mechanical motion of brushing is vital for scrubbing plaque from the teeth, while flossing allows you to reach into tiny spaces not otherwise accessible to remove plaque from there too. Swishing mouthwash around your mouth is a great way to wash away traces of food, but it is not as effective as daily brushing and flossing for plaque removal.
2. Use Mouthwash After Meals
The best time to rinse your mouth with mouthwash is right after a meal, when the action of swishing a liquid around in your mouth can help to get rid of leftover particles of food. Mouthwash is great for freshening your breath after lunch, allowing you to get on with the rest of your day feeling confident.
3. Do Not Use Mouthwash After You Brush
According to dentists, the worst time to use mouthwash is right after you brush your teeth. One of the purposes of toothpaste is to coat your teeth in fluoride, a mineral that the body uses to rebuild enamel after it has been damaged. If you use mouthwash, you wash this beneficial fluoride away from your teeth, limiting its ability to help your teeth repair themselves.
4. Avoid Alcohol-Based Mouthwashes
Traditionally, many types of mouthwash have used alcohol as one of their key ingredients. The thinking was that alcohol kills bacteria, so it should help to create a more sterile environment inside the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay. However, alcohol also dries out the tissues of the mouth, which can leave them vulnerable to irritation or even to micro-tears that can develop into ulcers. Many dentists now agree that non-alcohol-based mouthwashes are the safest options.
5. Ask Your Dentist About Medicated Mouthwash
If you suffer from gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis, then a medicated mouthwash can help to bring the condition under control before it develops into full-blown gum disease. Dentists can prescribe medicated mouthwashes that soothe irritated gums and tackle the spread of bad bacteria.