So you think you can rinse?

Mouthwash can help freshen your breath while protecting your mouth against tooth decay and gum disease…but do you really know how to use it?


Rinsing your mouth with dentist-approved mouthwash can help keep your smile in tip-top shape. But have you been using it all wrong?

Here’s our top tips for getting the most out of your mouthwash:

  1. Spread it out
    Use mouthwash as an interim measure after eating, instead of after brushing your teeth. The fluoride in toothpaste is more concentrated on your teeth after brushing, so rinsing with water or mouthwash will wash that protection away. Your 3-part dental health routine should include brushing, flossing and rinsing, but never use mouthwash as a substitute for brushing.
  2. Don’t cheat!
    If you swig the mouthwash from the bottle or the cap, you might not be using the right amount and you risk cross-contamination if you share the bottle with family. Instead, use the cap to measure out the specified amount into a clean cup every time.
  3. Clock-watch
    Use a clock or your mobile phone’s stopwatch to ensure you rinse for the correct amount of time (usually 30 seconds to 1 minute). Check the directions on your particular brand for the most effective results – they don’t put them on there for nothing!
  4. Make it fun!
    Swish it and swill it from side to side and finish by gargling to ensure you’re rinsing your mouth as thoroughly as possible. It also helps pass the time! Remember to spit the mouthwash into the sink and never swallow it.
  5. Give it time
    After using a fluoride mouthwash, don’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes to help the fluoride get to work protecting your teeth.
  6. Choose wisely
    Choose a mouthwash that is right for your needs, whether that’s sensitive teeth, gum disease or cavities. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can cause a dry mouth, so switching to alcohol-free might be better for those suffering from bad breath. A good starting point is a mouthwash approved by the British Dental Association and that contains fluoride to help fight tooth decay.

For more advice and recommendations, book your next check-up at Number 18 Dental today.

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