It’s a well-known fact, at least every time we have been to the dentist, that you are expected to brush and potentially floss your teeth at least twice a day.
Do you use mouthwash as part of your daily dental cleaning routine? We sure do, but how often should you use it?
Do you ever feel like you are using your mouthwash too much?
Well, we have to investigate if you actually can use mouthwash too much, what the benefits of mouthwash use are, and how to use it efficiently in a way that won’t potentially hurt our teeth.
We explore the world of mouthwash so you can apply this knowledge to your own dental routine, making you more efficient at cleaning your teeth, keeping them around for years to come!
Read on to learn our findings.
Why Do We Use Mouthwash, And What Are Its Benefits?
Mouthwash is an additional dental product, like floss, that we can incorporate into our dental routine on top of regular brushing.
Often, most people use mouthwash after they have brushed their teeth, or simply as a way to freshen their breath quickly.
Mouthwash often contains an antiseptic quality that kills bacteria around your mouth, gums, and teeth.
Mouthwash is great to use as it can help you fight bacteria in potentially hard to reach places. In this sense it can be more beneficial rather than brushing too much or too hard to reach these tough areas.
If you have good dental hygiene, you may simply use mouthwash to freshen your breath, meanwhile others may use it to prevent tooth decay and other ailments as to fortify their dental routine.
A 2007 study done on school children showed that those who use mouthwash can reduce the chance of cavities by more than 50% in comparison to those who didn’t.
However, it should be noted that most dentists concur that mouthwash is not effective on its own and is not a swap out for brushing and flossing, it should be used additionally within your dental routine.
Other research does suggest mouthwash helps prevent plaque build-up and gingivitis but formulas of different brands of mouthwash as well as dental mouthwash can differ quite greatly.
It’s hard to suggest which formula works best without better research into the matter.
How To Best Use Mouthwash
- Always brush your teeth first – There isn’t too much point, beyond freshening your breath, of using mouthwash unless you have already brushed your teeth, it works best after brushing and flossing. However, if you are using a fluoride toothpaste be careful to wait a few minutes before using mouthwash as it can potentially wash this fluoride coating away before it has been absorbed.
- Consider how much you use – Generally, each brand will suggest different amounts of mouthwash to rinse with, check your own bottle. Most brands also use the lid of the mouthwash as a cup which usually has a measuring mark, rely on this. Typically, it ranges from 2 teaspoons to 5, but you generally want enough to gargle and rinse around your mouth so less is more.
- Rinse and gargle – Once the mouthwash is in your mouth you want to, for lack of a better word, swish it around your mouth and push it to those hard-to-reach areas. You should also gargle too for maximum efficiency. Rinsing and gargling shouldn’t take more than a minute max.
- Spit it out – Honestly, don’t swallow it. It is not for consumption.
It won’t work on your teeth, and it just isn’t made to be consumed, only rinsed.
If you want fresh breath, and aren’t using it for the dental benefits, simply follow the same steps but use it for less time, you should get the fresh breath after it’s been in your mouth for only a few seconds.
How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?
Well, there’s not such a definite answer to this beyond the extremities. Of course, using mouthwash a lot will not necessarily do your teeth any good.
Unless you are using it mouthwash for a quick freshen up when you are in a pinch rush, for dental cleaning it should only be used the same amount of time you would brush your teeth.
More than five times a day would likely cause too much damage to your teeth. It could cause sores in your mouth and make your mouth too dry.
We want some bacteria on our teeth, if it was constantly clean it wouldn’t be able to deal with instances of bacteria as well. You wouldn’t wash your hair every day for the same reasons.
Then again, not using mouthwash at all could potentially be as bad.
Good brushing technique is always the most advantageous approach to dental hygiene, flossing and mouthwash are supplementary practices that help us be really efficient.
So it makes sense to use mouthwash when you brush your teeth.
It goes without saying if you are swallowing your mouthwash then you should really stop using it for a while.
As you can see, mouthwash has many benefits as part of your dental routine. It can be great for general dental hygiene but is also useful when freshening your breath when in a rush.
You don’t necessarily need mouthwash in your routine to have good dental hygiene, many can obtain this without mouthwash, but if you struggle to maintain dental hygiene, then mouthwash is an excellent way to fortify your routine to make sure you get to those hard-to-reach areas.
However, using mouthwash often more often than brushing your teeth can be potentially detrimental to your dental routine.
We recommend using mouthwash as many times as you brush your teeth in a day. If you frequently brush, then consider using it a little less.
Different formulas mean it’s hard to get consistent data on the benefits or dangers of mouthwash. Consistent extreme usage and swallowing your mouthwash regularly can certainly be advised against.
Talk to your dentist if you worry you use mouthwash excessively.