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Mouthwash: what it is for and which one is best for you

09 November · 3 minutes

If you’re wanting to improve your oral hygiene routine, incorporating mouthwash may be the missing piece of the puzzle. Normally the use of an oral rinse is overlooked, but its use as a complement to daily brushing and flossing is essential to complete your oral hygiene routine.

In this article we’ll explain what mouthwash is, the different types that exist, and what each one is for, as well as the pros and cons of using mouthwash and which one is the best for each case.

What is mouthwash?

Dental mouthwash, also known as mouth rinse or oral rinse, is a liquid product used to maintain top-notch oral hygiene. It’s usually used after brushing and flossing to provide an extra layer of protection to oral health.

What does each type of mouthwash do?

What does mouthwash do? Well, there are different types of mouthwash and each one has a specific use, depending on the case and its objectives. When it comes to deciding which type of mouthwash to choose, we recommend asking a dentist for advice. They can explain what each type of mouthwash is for and what one is best for your case. Below we’ve listed the different types of mouthwashes and what they do.

Therapeutic mouthwash

Therapeutic is the type of mouthwash that is recommended by a dentist or prescribed under medical supervision. Therapeutic mouthwash may be specifically recommended to treat certain oral health problems. Below are the most common types of therapeutic mouthwash and what they are for:

  • Antimicrobial Mouthwash: Antimicrobial mouthwash, also known as antibacterial or antibiotic mouthwash contains active ingredients designed to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth. It is effective in fighting plaque and preventing gum disease. This antibacterial mouthwash is not only suitable for maintaining general oral hygiene, but can also be useful for specific problems such as gingivitis.
  • Antiseptic mouthwash: Antiseptic mouthwash contains active ingredients that help prevent or treat oral infections thanks to its disinfectant properties. Antiseptic mouthwash is especially useful after dental procedures or in the case of mouth ulcers.
  • Antiviral mouthwash: Antiviral mouthwash is a medicated mouthwash and the latest to hit the market. It contains active ingredients designed to fight viruses in the mouth. Antiviral mouthwash helps reduce the spread of viruses, such as oral herpes.

Cosmetic mouthwash

In addition to being good for our oral health, mouthwash also has cosmetic uses that can help us improve the aesthetics of our teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of cosmetic mouthwash and what they’re used for:

  • Mouthwash for bad breath: the main benefit of this type of mouthwash is to eliminate bad breath. Having breath free of bad odors helps you to feel confident when showing off your teeth.
  • Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash with whitening effects: Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is formulated to generate a whitening effect on teeth. This product helps remove superficial dental stains. Whitening mouthwashes also have disinfectant properties, since hydrogen peroxide fights bacteria and viruses in the mouth.
  • Mouthwash for fresh breath: This type of mouthwash, in addition to fighting bad breath, can help maintain long-lasting fresh breath.
  • Mouthwash for dry mouth: dry mouth can cause discomfort to those who suffer from it. This mouthwash is formulated to combat dry mouth, increasing oral moisture, and relieving the uncomfortable sensation of dryness.

It’s important to keep in mind that the aesthetic results from using cosmetic mouthwash are not as immediate or spectacular as those obtained from professional aesthetic procedures. However, regular use of mouthwash can help improve the looks of your mouth in the long term.

How to use mouthwash?

If you want to know how to use mouthwash correctly and achieve the best results for your health, here are some steps and tips:

  1. Measure the amount: pour the recommended amount of mouth rinse into the glass. The amount varies depending on the product, so be sure to check the packaging.
  2. Gargle and rinse: Take a sip of mouthwash without diluting it and gargle for 30 seconds. Make sure to swoosh the mouthwash throughout your entire mouth, even between your teeth.
  3. Spit out the oral rinse after gargling: it is important that you do not ingest it, as some ingredients can damage your stomach.
  4. Do not rinse: after using mouthwash, avoid rinsing your mouth or drinking water. This way, you will help keep the active ingredients on your teeth and in your mouth for longer and maximize the effect of the mouthwash.

Additionally, there are also some considerations to keep in mind before using a rinse in your mouth:

  • Timing is important: use it after brushing and flossing. This ensures that the teeth are clean before use.
  • Take the frequency of use into account: in the instructions you should find recommendations for how often it should be used.
A boy holding a bottle of mouthwash close to the camera.

Pros and cons of mouthwash

The use of mouthwash offers a number of pros and cons that should be taken into account to make an informed decision about adding it to your dental routine. Below are some of the most important advantages and disadvantages of using mouthwash:

Benefits of using mouthwash

Some of the benefits of mouthwash are as follows:

  • Fight bad breath: Mouthwash effectively helps reduce bad breath and instead provides fresh breath.
  • Tooth protection: Mouthwash that contains fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and protect against cavities.
  • Gum health: Mouth rinse that is specifically designed to protect gingival health can reduce gum problems and promote overall oral health.
  • Plaque reduction: Mouthwash can help remove plaque, making it easier to clean your teeth.
  • Specific uses: There are many types of oral rinses for specific needs, such as sensitive teeth or ones that are used after surgeries.

Disadvantages of using mouthwash

As with everything, there are some disadvantages of using mouthwash. Let’s take a look:

  • Not suitable for everyone: Mouthwash is not suitable for everyone and may cause side effects for people sensitive to certain ingredients.
  • Cost: High-quality mouthwash can be expensive and can therefore increase the total cost of oral care.
  • Time spent: Gargling and rinsing with mouthwash requires more time added on to your dental routine.
  • Taste: The taste of mouthwash may be unpleasant for some people.

What is the best mouthwash for your needs?

A lot of people ask, what is the best mouthwash? And the reality is, there isn’t one clear winner. Choosing the best mouthwash for each individual case is the most important factor in making this decision. There are many types of mouthwashes on the market and it can be difficult to choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are some steps that can help you choose which is the best mouthwash for your case:

  • Consult your dentist: Your dentist is the best source of information when it comes to finding the best mouthwash for you. They can evaluate your oral health and make professional recommendations.
  • Determine your objective: Think about the main objective you want to achieve by using mouthwash. Do you want to combat bad breath? Treat gum problems? Prevent cavities or reduce plaque? Depending on your preference, you should choose an oral rinse that specializes in that area.
  • Read the ingredients: Check the ingredients on the mouth rinse container. Some mouthwash contains fluoride to protect teeth, while others contain antimicrobials to fight bacteria.
  • Consider special needs: If you have special needs, such as sensitive teeth or allergies, look for mouthwashes specifically designed to address these issues.

When to use mouthwash in your oral care routine

Before incorporating mouthwash into your daily oral care routine, you should consider when to use it.

Below we’ll cover when to use mouthwash and if it’s a substitute for brushing.

Mouthwash and a toothbrush on a turquoise background.

Mouthwash before or after brushing your teeth

The question of whether to use mouthwash before or after brushing is often the subject of debate. The general recommendation of dentists is to use oral rinse after brushing. This has the advantage of first mechanically removing all plaque and food debris from the teeth. Afterwards, the mouthwash helps fight remaining bacteria and promotes fresh breath. If you use the mouthwash before brushing your teeth, it can affect the effectiveness of the toothpaste, since some ingredients in mouth rinses can reduce the action of the fluoride contained in toothpastes.

Can I use mouthwash instead of brushing? Our advice

The idea of relying solely on mouthwash instead of brushing may seem tempting, but it’s important to emphasize that mouthwash alone cannot replace brushing. Brushing is essential to remove plaque and food debris. However, mouthwash with antibacterial properties is a great complement to your typical oral routine. They help fight bacteria, reduce bad breath, and address specific oral health issues. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that mouthwash should not replace brushing, but rather complement it. Thoroughly cleaning your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste and flossing remain the cornerstones of healthy oral hygiene.

Impress can help you maintain good oral hygiene

At Impress we are experts in invisible orthodontics and oral health care. Our innovative technology and experience not only help improve teeth, but also oral hygiene. With removable aligners, we make it easy to clean your teeth and maintain your oral health. Our specialized professionals will give personalized recommendations to each patient and help achieve healthier and more aligned teeth.

If you are interested in learning more about how Impress can help you improve your oral hygiene and align your teeth, come check us out at your nearest Impress clinic and meet the team of professionals who will supervise your treatment. You can schedule a free consultation by shooting us an email at careteam@uniformteeth.com, by calling us at 888.490.1421, or by booking online. Discover what Impress can do for you!

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