Do I Need Mouthwash?

A common question for people who want a good oral health routine is: do I need to use mouthwash? There is a great debate on the job of mouthwash. Is it necessary or not? When should you use it? Well, mouthwash can help reduce plaque, but it is not as vital as brushing or flossing your teeth. While you must brush and floss your teeth daily, using mouthwash is not as essential. You can’t use it as a replacement for brushing and flossing.  However, mouthwash does have its benefits.

There are two types of mouthwash—cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash can help freshen your breath. Therapeutic mouthwash has a specific purpose. For example, many patients who suffer from dry mouth use a dentist-recommended mouthwash to keep their mouth moist. Additionally, there are other mouthwashes that help reduce plaque, cavities, and gingivitis

Mouthwash is not required to clean your mouth. However, it is a great tool to enhance your oral health routine. This is because it can reach places in your mouth that brushing alone cannot reach. 

Portrait of a young woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom at home mouthwash general dentistry dentist in amherst ny

Benefits of Using Mouthwash Regularly

The benefits you get from mouthwash will depend on the type of mouthwash you choose. If you use a cosmetic mouthwash, you can enjoy a fresh, clean feeling and better breath. Additionally, it can help remove food particles, which reduces the food source for bacteria. However, cosmetic mouthwash has no greater purpose than to make your breath smell better. 

With therapeutic mouthwash, some of the benefits include whiter, stronger teeth and reduced plaque. In addition, the formula of many therapeutic mouthwashes helps eliminate harmful bacteria that cause plaque. Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease. When you remove plaque, you reduce your chances of developing severe dental issues. Along with brushing and flossing your teeth, using mouthwash can increase your oral health. 

If you suffer from a condition known as “dry mouth,” your dentist may recommend a therapeutic mouthwash designed to help moisten your mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to sustain a healthy oral environment. Without saliva, bacteria can flourish, increasing plaque buildup. Saliva helps neutralize harmful bacteria. So, therapeutic mouthwash helps to increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. 

How Do I Use Mouthwash Correctly?

For best care practices, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. It may depend on the type of mouthwash and the purpose of use. For example, one mouthwash may require rinsing before you brush your teeth. Yet, another may specify using after you brush your teeth. Therefore, it is important for you to follow the directions carefully. 

If you rinse with a mouthwash that includes fluoride, ensure you only use it once a day. It is possible to overuse fluoride and damage your teeth. However, many cosmetic mouthwashes are suitable for use multiple times a day. If you have questions, be sure to ask your dentist. 

Most labels will instruct you to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using mouthwash.