How to Use Mouthwash

Brushing your teeth is only 25% efficient in cleansing your teeth. Therefore, you need to use mouthwash to ensure the whole mouth is clean at least twice daily. It is a liquid that you swish or gargle into your mouth for cleaning purposes. Using mouthwash alongside brushing your teeth, and neither should replace the other. Read through to learn how to use mouthwash .

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Key Takeaways

  • Do not replace flossing/brushing with mouthwash. Make it your oral care routine.
  • Some mouthwashes have germ-killing and anti-cavity properties, and you can use them to prevent plaque around the gum line.
  • Use your mouthwash at least two times every day for effective oral health.
  • Always read the instructions before using mouthwash, and don't swallow it. Also, keep it away from children below six years.

How to Use Mouthwash: A Guide to Use It Correctly

a person using the mouthwash in the bathroom

Follow the guide below to use your mouthwash correctly.

  1. Pour the right amount of mouthwash into a cup.The label on your mouthwash should have the right dosage. Use the small cap on the mouthwash box to measure the correct amount of mouthwash. You'll only require about 20ml of mouthwash to clean your mouth. However, some fluoride mouthwashes require only 10 ml. However, you can use any amount for your needs unless it is a prescription mouthwash. If so, follow your dentist's instructions to the latter.
  2. Empty the mouthwash into your mouth.Pour the mouthwash into the mouth once and close the mouth to avoid mouthwash squirting out. Don't swallow the mouthwash as it may contain harmful chemicals.
  3. Swish the mouthwash for about 30 seconds. Learn how long you should swish the mouthwash from the bottle's instructions. Ensure you swish around all mouth sections, including under the tongue, through molars, and behind your teeth.
  4. Spit the content out. After you finish swishing, spit the content out and rinse your sink.
  5. Wait for about 30 minutes before rinsing your mouth. Most mouthwashes continue acting even after spitting out. Therefore, you should wait half an hour before drinking water or eating food.

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    When to Use Mouthwash for Maximum Benefits

    mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste

    Use mouthwash as directed below to realize the best results.

    Use It Before or After Brushing

    The American Dental Association states you can use mouthwash before or after brushing. The mouthwash is effective in both instances as long as the mouthwash you use is effective. However, if your immediate meal has a heavy odor, we recommend you swish your mouth after eating. Ensure that anytime you use mouthwash, you swish it in your mouth for at least 30 seconds.

    Before Bed

    Bacteria mostly act on food particles that remain in the mouth as we sleep. To eliminate these bacteria, ensure you swish your mouth before retiring. It doesn't matter whether you brush your teeth.

    Use It Anytime to Freshen Your Breath

    You can always carry your mouthwash when going to work for those with bad breath issues. Thus, you can use it anytime to refresh your breath.

    Which Mouthwash Is Right for Me? - How to Choose the Right Mouthwash

    the dentist in her office holding a bottle of mouthwash

    There are different types of mouthwash. Each type has its primary purpose, as shown below.

    Prescription Mouthwash 

    You should only useprescription mouthwash for medical purposes. You should consult your dental professional if you have a medical condition, especially concerning dental health. They may recommend a specific mouth rinse to address your issue. For instance, if you have xerostomia, gum disease, or mouth pain, you should use prescription mouthwash for treatment, which may eliminate the need for dentist cleanings.

    Follow the dentist's instructions whenever using a prescription mouthwash. The dosage and side effects should be on the mouthwash bottle or box. Go through them before using your mouthwash.

    Cosmetic Mouthwash

    Cosmetic mouthwash is a great option when you want to get rid of bad breath. This mouthwash brings a pleasant taste to your mouth and ensures a temporary fresh breath. Use this mouthwash only after eating, especially for spicy meals with a strong odor. However, you should note that cosmetic mouthwash won't cure gingivitis or tooth decay. It only removes bad breath to ensure you smell good.

    We recommend the Healthy Gums Mouthwash - Wildberry from Dr. Brite, as it is excellent for maintaining a fresh breath.

    a smiling woman holding the mouthwash

    Therapeutic Mouthwash

    Therapeutic mouthwashes are a good alternative for fighting bacteria. Therefore, it can be an upgrade for cosmetic mouthwash, especially for those with chronic bad breath. Antiseptic mouthwash removes bad breath, treats gingivitis, reduces plaque, and can combat gum disease. You can also use this mouthwash to whiten your teeth. These mouthwashes always have antibacterial or antiseptic labels on them.

    A good therapeutic mouthwash alternative is the Anti-Plaque Mouthwash - Mint from Dr. Brite, which is dedicated to fighting plaque.

    Take note of the following.

    • Therapeutic mouthwash and otherantibacterial mouthwashes kill germs and bacteria, which are the root cause of bad breath. It also avoids its production or spreading in the mouth. However, this mouthwash may contain some antibacterial agents, like cetylpyridinium or chlorhexidine, that may discolor your teeth.
    • Therapeutic mouthwash and other antibacterial mouthwashes fight and inhibit the growth and spread of protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. However, you should note that too many essential oils may dry out your mouth to irritate it.

    Herbal Mouthwash

    You should useherbal mouthwash to avoid dyes and chemicals. Mouthwashes may contain dyes that discolor your teeth or chemicals that harm you. To avoid such from happening, we recommend you try herbal mouthwashes. You can make your sample using peppermint, clove, and rosemary. These ingredients have antiseptic, cooling, and antibacterial properties that make them ideal for mouthwash.

    a person with herbs in her mouth

    Fluoride Mouthwash

    Fluoride rinses are excellent in fighting cavities. Therefore, get a therapeutic fluoride mouthwash if you aim to prevent cavities. This mouth rinse reduces lesions that create cavities. Fortunately, fluoride is available in most toothpastes and is sometimes added to water in small quantities. However, if your teeth are prone to cavities, you may need to buy fluoride mouthwashes.

    Besides preventing dental caries, fluoride rinses also remineralize enamel to strengthen it. However, using too much fluoride can be harmful. Therefore, we recommend you use it at low levels.


    Consider the following tips when using mouthwash.

    • Do not replace flossing or brushing with mouthwash. Instead, it should be a complement. Also, use a toothbrush with soft bristles when brushing.
    • Don't rinse your mouth immediately after using mouthwash. Wait for about 30 minutes before doing so. The mouthwash continues acting even after you spit it out, therefore, if you rinse immediately, you lower its effectiveness and may not get the desired results.
    • Ensure the mouthwash you purchase has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
    • Consult your dentist for a prescription mouthwash to treat gingivitis, dental caries, or chronic bad breath. Again, mouthwash alone may not be enough to treat your condition, that's why you need a dental professional's recommendations.
    • You'll generally want to wait at least 24 hours before mouthwashing your teeth after tooth extraction.

      mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss

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      What Is the Best Way to Use Mouthwash?

      The best way to use mouthwash is to swish it around and rinse your whole mouth for at least 30 seconds, twice a day.

      Do I Use Mouthwash Before or After Brushing?

      You can use mouthwash before or after brushing. However, the National Health Service states that you shouldn't use mouthwash after brushing as this may affect the fluoride action.

      Do You Wash Your Mouth With Water After Mouthwash?

      No, you should not wash your mouth with water after using mouthwash. Rinsing with water may wash out mouthwash, influencing its cleaning property. If you have to, do so lightly with little water.

      How Much Mouthwash Should I Use?

      20ml of mouthwash is enough for rinsing your mouth. However, if you use fluoride mouthwash, 10ml should be enough.

      Should I Use Mouthwash?

      Yes, you should use mouthwash as it is beneficial to your oral health. It helps reduce bacteria in your mouth, thus preventing dental plaque and periodontal diseases. Fluoride mouthwashes also reduce cavities.