People use mouthwash for a variety of uses, from freshening breath to preventing tooth decay. Swishing daily with mouthwash can help you maintain great oral health by killing the germs and bacteria that linger in your mouth and between your teeth. Here are a few pointers about mouthwash and how it might help to improve your overall oral health.
What is mouthwash?
Mouthwash or mouthrinse is an oral hygiene product that you can
use in addition to brushing and flossing. Generally, these oral rinses are classified as cosmetic, therapeutic, or a combination of both.
Cosmetic mouthwashes can remove oral debris, temporarily suppress bad breath, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste. In addition to these benefits, therapeutic mouthwashes—including antiseptic, anti-plaque, and anti-cavity formulas—include ingredients to protect against oral disease. Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouthwashes can kill the germs that cause plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath, while anti-cavity formulas use fluoride to prevent and reduce tooth decay.
How do I use mouthwash?
First, make sure that you brush and floss your teeth well. Your teeth should be as clean as possible in order to reap the full benefits of your mouthwash.
Once you’re ready to rinse, measure the proper amount as specified on
the container, or as instructed by your dentist. With your lips closed and your
teeth apart, swish the liquid around your mouth. Many formulas suggest swishing for 30 seconds or more. Finally, thoroughly spit the liquid from your mouth. If you’re using an anti-cavity mouthwash, do not rinse, eat, or smoke for 30 minutes after use.
Does mouthwash have any side effects?
Side effects may vary, depending on which formula you use. If you experience
any irritating or adverse reactions to mouthwash, immediately stop using it
and speak with your dentist. Most anti-cavity rinses contain sodium
fluoride, which can lead to fluoride toxicity if taken excessively or swallowed. Because children tend to swallow mouthwash accidentally, they should not use anticavity formulas before age 6, and children older than age 6 should use them only with adult supervision.