Everything You Need to Know About Mouthwash

Iqaluit Dental Clinic image of a person pouring mouthwash into a cup
June 8, 2022 0 Comments

Mouthwash, also known as an oral rinse, usually contains antiseptic elements that kill harmful bacteria inside your mouth. It’s not a replacement for brushing, and there is a lot of confusion surrounding its usage. We at Iqaluit Dental Clinic suggest you take a look at the facts mentioned in this article before including mouthwash in your dental hygiene.

People use mouthwash for different reasons. Cosmetic mouthwashes only take care of bad breath. They do not kill any bacteria or protect your teeth against plaque and gingivitis. Therapeutic mouthwashes are specially prescribed by physicians to treat oral problems. Here are a few things you should know about mouthwash before picking one for yourself.

1. You cannot cure bad breath with a mouthwash – While using a mouthwash gives you a minty fresh breath, it’s not a cure for bad breath. Mouthwash kills off bacteria, but it cannot dislodge food particles within the teeth. Bacteria will accumulate over time if you do not brush your teeth regularly.

Moreover, bad breath can also arise from your lungs due to an infection. Even staying on an empty stomach for too long could cause your breath to stink. So, if the smell in your breath persists long after using a mouthwash, you should consult a physician right away.

2. Mouthwash can prevent gum diseases – Mouthwash is quite effective at killing bacteria within your mouth. If left untreated, the bacteria can lead to tooth decay, infections, and gum diseases. Using mouthwash regularly can prevent such infections, but you have to pick the right one.

3. Mouthwash can fight-off cavities – A fluoride rinse is quite effective at preventing tooth decay. It strengthens your enamel and provides it with the necessary minerals to keep your teeth healthy.

4. Mouthwash is used for different purposes – Dentists usually suggest the type of mouthwash that’s best suited for your case. If you are suffering from plaque build-up, they will suggest an antibacterial rinse. If your teeth lack the necessary minerals, they suggest a fluoride rinse to improve your oral health. The treatment can also prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

There are other mouthwashes that specialize in treating gingivitis, bad breath, etc. So, if you are planning to buy one, it’s best to consult your dentist so that they can suggest the best solution to your problem.

5. Mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing – Brushing and flossing are necessary to remove sticky food particles from the deep crevices of your teeth. You should always brush twice a day, especially after a heavy dinner. Rinsing is an effective way to dispose of any remaining bacteria during flossing and brushing, but it cannot get rid of large chunks by itself.

6. Mouthwash is not meant for children – Mouthwash can cause stomach aches in children below six years old. They are not used to rinsing their mouths with liquid only to spit it out. Children usually gulp down anything that lands in their mouths.

Depending on the mouthwash, it can cause various problems for children, so always keep them away from their tiny grasp.

7. Alcohol-based mouthwash is bad for your oral health – Mouthwash containing alcohol can prove detrimental to your mouth. It can cause a burning sensation in your cheeks and gums. In extreme cases, it can also cause ulcers and can even make your mouth more sensitive to extreme temperatures.

Consult a dentist if you are experiencing such problems and stop using the rinse immediately.

How to properly use your mouthwash?

Using mouthwash is not simple. There is more to just pouring it in and rinsing it around for 20 seconds. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Follow the instructions mentioned on the label, or as directed by the dentist.
  • Always use mouthwash only after brushing and flossing.
  • Only use Fluoride mouthwash once per day. Any more can cause enamel fluorosis, which alters the appearance of teeth, especially in younger children. However, you can use cosmetic mouthwash multiple times per day.
  • Avoid eating anything 30 minutes after using mouthwash.

How to use mouthwash?

The directions for using mouthwash manufactured by different companies vary. However, here are a few directions to help you out, in case there are no instructions on your bottle.

1. Start by brushing your teeth – Always brush your teeth before using a rinse. In the case of a mouthwash containing fluoride, wait some time before using it.

2. Use a cup to measure out how much rinse you use – Most oral mouthwashes come with a small cap on top. You can even see markings on its side. When rising, do not just pour the mouthwash directly into your mouth. Use the cup to measure the quantity of mouthwash.

The quantity is usually prescribed by your dentist. If you do not have a prescription, then you can use 3-5 tablespoons of mouthwash to rinse your mouth.

3. Rinse a while to clean your mouth thoroughly – Mouthwash is not meant to be swallowed. Once you have measured the amount, empty the container into your mouth and twirl it around. Gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting out the liquid.

When should you use your mouthwash?

Mouthwash can be used either regularly or in a pinch to take care of bad breath. Usually, there are no hard and fast rules for using mouthwash. But for best results, you should use it after brushing your teeth and twice per day (more or less as directed by your dentist).

The use of mouthwash can prevent or stop bad breath, remove plaque, and reduce the chances of catching gum disease. There is no substitute for regular brushing and flossing. However, it is important to use mouthwash correctly in order for it to be the most effective after you have brushed your teeth.


You can’t cure bad breath or gum disease with mouthwash alone. If you have recurrent bad breath or suspect you have gum disease, you might have a chronic or ongoing oral health condition. Such conditions need to be treated immediately, and we at Iqaluit Dental Clinic suggest you discuss the matter with your dentist right away.