woman holding mouthwashAccording to Dental Metrix, one of the most “commonly asked questions by dental patients is ‘Should I use mouthwash every day?'” Clearly, people are concerned about creating an optimal oral health routine and are wondering about the right way to use mouthwash.

However, there is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about this material. Firstly, it is not a “standard” product and there are many types of mouthwash available. Some are medicinal, some are meant to reduce germs, and others are simply to freshen the breath or whiten teeth. This implies that there cannot be a single “right or wrong” way to use it, however, that is not entirely the case.

Of course, the key answer to the question is that mouthwash does not have to be used at all! Unless a dental care provider has prescribed a medically oriented mouthwash (such as one to help with “cotton mouth” due to medication or a specific health problem), it is not actually necessary.

It can be a great addition to your daily oral health routine if you are already in the habit of giving your mouth a quick rinse, but it is not an essential. The only things that are “musts” in your daily regimen are flossing and brushing properly.

Optimizing results

So, if you do decide to add mouthwash to the daily routine, make sure that it is of actual benefit to you. Also be sure that you are using it in a way that is optimizing the results. This means:

  • Use it before you brush and floss – Whatever portions are recommended for use by the maker, follow them, and do the rinsing prior to brushing to really gain the most benefits.
  • Get a fluoride rinse – Reading ingredients labels on mouthwash may seem silly, but unless you are getting a good coating of fluoride on the teeth it is essentially a bit of a wasted effort.
  • Gargle for at least 45 seconds – This is a lot longer than most people actually hold the mouthwash in their mouth, swish it around, and gargle it at the back of the throat. It is, however, the minimal amount of time and effort for fully coating the teeth and mouth; and
  • Never rinse – Even when the mouthwash makes you feel like you must rinse it away, if you want to gain the benefits you must skip the blast of water and just let it do its work.

That is the best schedule and routine for mouthwash use, but keep in mind that brushing and flossing are far more important.