The Proper Use of Mouthwash

Posted on: February 2, 2018

MouthwashIt is not enough to perform a quick rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing. The manner in which you use mouthwash matters just as much as whether you use it or not. The daily use of mouthwash helps keep your entire mouth in tip-top shape.

Mouthwash combats dental plaque, fortifies the teeth/gums and attacks harmful bacteria. The best part is that mouthwash is a liquid so it can reach those nooks and crannies of the mouth that your toothbrush cannot.

Tips for using mouthwash effectively

How to use Mouthwash: Frequency of Use

In general, people should use mouthwash two times per day: once in the morning and once in the evening after cleaning the teeth.  However, if someone does not carry a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss around to clean teeth after each meal, rinsing with mouthwash is certainly better than doing nothing.

Your Mouthwash Routine

Pour 20 ml of your mouthwash into a small cup. This amount of mouthwash equals three-quarters of a cap. Take a deep breath. Put the mouthwash in your mouth. Tilt your head back as far as possible.  Open your mouth wide and say “Ah” as though you are in the doctor's office for your annual checkup.

Say “Ah” slowly but not so slow enough that you a cough or gag on the mouthwash.  Once you are out of the air, move your head forward to its regular position, rest your neck and take in another breath.  Repeat the process one more time to ensure a thorough rinse.

General Advice for Using Mouthwash

Do not dilute the mouthwash.  Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds to a full minute.  Spit out the mouthwash into the sink after this period of time.  Do not reuse mouthwash.  If the pungency of the mouthwash seems strong for your mouth, start out by swishing with it for 10 seconds. Once a few days pass, move on up to swishing for 20 seconds and so on.

You will eventually get used to the powerful taste of mouthwash. Do not eat or drink for half hour after rinsing with mouthwash. Adding food or liquids besides water will sabotage the cleaning performed by the mouthwash, floss, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Consider Whether You are Using the Right Mouthwash for Your Mouth

Do not assume any old mouthwash on the store shelf will suffice.  You need a mouthwash suited for your unique oral health challenges.  Meet with a dentist to determine your mouth's weak points and identify the optimal mouthwash for the health and beauty of your mouth.  If you select the wrong mouthwash, you will run the risk of negative side effects ranging from stained teeth to ulcers, alterations in taste etc.  

As an example, you might have an overly-dry mouth and would benefit from a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol.  Most mouthwashes contain alcohol so it might take some searching to find one that is alcohol-free.  Alternatively, a dentist can write a script for a specialized mouthwash that accounts for your unique oral health needs and challenges.

Call us at (206) 408-8541 for more information from Des Moines Dental Center or to schedule an appointment in our dentist office in Des Moines.