Keeping your teeth in good health does more than give you a beautiful smile and boost your self-confidence. Studies suggest that strong and healthy teeth are indicative of oral and overall health.
A good oral health routine includes brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and using fluoride toothpaste, flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day, as well as eating a healthy diet with limited sugar.
So when exactly should you use mouthwash, and can it wash away the benefits of brushing with fluoride toothpaste? We answer these questions and more in our comprehensive guide to mouthwash.
What is Mouthwash?
Mouthwash is an oral rinse that you use as part of your at-home oral care routine. It usually contains an antiseptic that kills the harmful bacteria in your mouth while freshening your breath, but it isn’t designed to replace teeth brushing.
Mouthwash formulas vary, and products can be used for different purposes. Most contain an antiseptic like menthol, alcohol, or eucalyptol to kill bacteria on the palette of your mouth, your tongue, and between your teeth to reduce tooth decay and gum disease. Some formulas containing peroxide can even help whiten your teeth, while those containing odor neutralizers and astringent attack and mask bad breath.
Others contain fluoride to help strengthen your tooth enamel. You may even be prescribed an antimicrobial mouthwash by your dentist if you have signs of gum disease.
When to Use Mouthwash?
Although you can use mouthwash whenever you need to freshen your breath, the best time to use mouthwash is right after you eat. The sugars in the food and drinks you consume make your mouth more acidic. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you brush acid into your teeth, causing tooth erosion.
Some dentists recommend avoiding using mouthwash immediately after brushing. Most fluoride toothpastes contain around 1450ppm of fluoride, whereas mouthwash only contains about 450ppm, which isn’t enough to fight plaque.
Using an oral rinse immediately after brushing can rinse away some of the fluoride toothpaste. If you simply can’t break the habit, then gargle and spit without swilling the liquid all around your teeth.
You should also avoid rinsing with water after brushing; simply spit out the excess toothpaste and let the fluoride do its job of protecting your smile. Wait at least 30 minutes after brushing to drink water.
See Your Caputo Dentist About When to Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash can enhance your oral hygiene regimen. It can remove plaque and reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease and freshen your breath. Your dentist can help you decide which mouthwash to use and when to use it based on your oral health.
For a healthy smile, ensure you eat a well-balanced diet, avoid frequent snacking, drink fluoridated water, limit sugary foods and beverages, change your toothbrush every three months and visit your dentist twice a year for checkups.
To schedule your appointment, contact Caputo Dental and begin your journey to a healthy smile.