Should You Use Mouthwash?
When you picture the basics of good oral care, you probably think of brushing and flossing. What about using mouthwash? Many people include this optional step in their daily teeth-cleaning routine. Should you join them?
Benefits of Mouthwash
Here are the top reasons to use mouthwash daily.
- Freshen your breath: Antiseptic mouthwash kills bacteria that cause bad breath while leaving a minty flavor behind. If you struggle with chronic bad breath, be aware that using mouthwash won’t cure the underlying cause. Speak with your dentist about tips to combat the problem at the source.
- Remove biofilm: Your teeth comprise only 25 percent of the total surface area in your mouth. Even after you brush and floss, a thin, slimy layer of bacteria may linger on your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth. Rinsing with mouthwash minimizes this biofilm, leaving your mouth cleaner than brushing and flossing alone.
- Prevent plaque buildup: Some mouthwash products are formulated to help prevent plaque from building up between your teeth and along the gum line. This sticky substance is teeming with bacteria, so preventing it from forming is the best defense you have against cavities and gum disease.
- Strengthen tooth enamel: Mouthwash with fluoride additives can help make your teeth stronger and more plaque-resistant.
- Prevent staining: Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash has minor whitening capabilities when used as directed. Most importantly, it prevents new stains from setting in, making it an effective smile maintenance product following professional teeth whitening.
How to Use Mouthwash
To maximize the benefits of mouthwash, make sure you use it correctly. Follow the directions on the bottle with these additional tips in mind:
- Brush and floss first: Mouthwash isn’t a substitute for brushing and flossing. Perform these steps first to remove food particles and plaque.
- Use the proper amount: Pour mouthwash into the plastic cup that doubles as a lid, using the amount recommended on the bottle. This is typically between 3 and 5 teaspoons.
- Time yourself: Empty the cup into your mouth and begin swishing it between your teeth. Watch the clock or count in your head to the recommended time, which is usually 30 to 60 seconds. As you do, rinse the cup and place it back on the bottle.
- Spit: At the end of the allotted time, spit the mouthwash into the sink. Avoid swallowing.
- Don’t rinse: Mouthwash continues to work after you spit it out, so to avoid diluting its cleaning and tooth-strengthening benefits, don’t rinse with water after using mouthwash. Also, avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes or as recommended on the bottle.
Need help selecting the ideal mouthwash for your needs? Speak with the expert team at Park 56 Dental. Besides informing your at-home oral care routine, we also offer preventative and restorative services to keep your smile looking healthy and bright. Call us today at (212) 826-2322 or contact us online for more tips or to schedule an appointment at our NYC office.