The Do’s and Don’ts of Mouthwash

Mouthwash has become a part of the oral health care routine for many Canadians. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash seems relatively straightforward, but like with any other health care practice, mistakes can be made. The following are some points you should keep in mind when buying and using mouthwashes.

Do: Rinse Vigorously

Mouthwash isn’t a set-and-forget kind of product; you need to be actively swishing the liquid around your mouth when you’re using it. A lot of mouthwash isn’t necessarily pleasant on the tongue so you’ll be inclined to swish it anyway. Most types will advise you to keep it in your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute. If you’re constantly moving it during this time, you should get good results.

Don’t: Swallow It

You have to be careful with mouthwash; a lot of it contains chemicals that can be hazardous to your health when swallowed in large doses including ethanol and large amounts of fluoride. Swallowing a tiny bit of mouthwash isn’t the end of the world, but if you take a big gulp, it can be prudent to call Poison Control. Swallowing a lot of mouthwash can be dangerous.  If you’re worried, never hesitate to go to the hospital.

Do: Use It as a Regular Part of Your Oral Health Care Routine

Depending on the type of mouthwash you’re using, it can provide a number of different benefits to your oral health. There are two basic types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash simply serves to cover up bad breath, while therapeutic mouthwash can do things like kill bacteria and remineralize your teeth. You can get a lot of mouthwash over-the-counter but in some cases, your dentist may prescribe a specific mouthwash. Regular use is beneficial.

Don’t: Use It Instead of Brushing and Flossing

Brush twice a day and floss once a day. You’ve probably heard that a million times – that’s only because it’s true. Mouthwash can never do what brushing and flossing do – remove plaque. Plaque hardens into tartar and creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that cause all kinds of oral health problems. You need to brush and floss.

Do: Read the Label and Instructions

Not all mouthwashes are formulated the same way. There can be many different types of active ingredients; you may need to keep the mouthwash in your mouth for different periods of time;  and they can all have different effects on your oral health. Check the label and consult with your dental clinic in Winnipeg if you have any questions. 

Don’t: Use Mouthwash to Mask a Real Problem

You’ve just had a bunch of onions and garlic and you’re about to go on a first date? You probably want to use mouthwash. You’ve had persistent bad breath for weeks that seems to come back no matter what you do? Well then, my friend, mouthwash is not solving your problems, it’s just masking them. Persistent bad breath can be a sign of many different oral health problems from gum disease to tooth decay. Don’t just mask the problem – go see your dentist.