Mouthwash Before or After Brushing | Which Is a Better Practice?

Mouthwash is an essential part of oral hygiene, and it should be done after each meal to remove food particles that can cause tooth decay. However, some people find the taste of mouthwash unpleasant and prefer not to use it at all. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you may want to avoid using mouthwash altogether.

If you decide to brush your teeth with mouthwash, make sure that you rinse well before brushing your tongue. Also, use the right products. AtDr. Brite, we strive to provide our patients with the best dental care possible. We offer several different types of oral care products, including mouthwashes. The ingredients in these products are safe for both adults and children. They are toxin-free and don't contain any inflammatory agent. Our goal is to help you achieve optimal oral health benefits by providing quality products and services in a comfortable environment. 

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What is a Mouthwash?

A mouthwash is a liquid solution used for cleaning the inside of the mouth. The most common ingredients found in mouthwashes include water, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and flavorings. Alcohol is one of the main components of mouthwash because it kills germs and prevents them from forming plaque on your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide also helps kill bacteria and reduce plaque buildup. Flavorings are added to mouthwash to mask its pungent odor and give it a pleasant taste.

a woman with mouthwash

Whitening mouthwash contains unique ingredients that lighten stains on your teeth. This mouthwash is usually marketed as awhitening product, but it does not whiten your teeth. Instead, it removes stains from your teeth and makes them appear whiter. You can choose between two types of whitening mouthwash: those containing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and those containing peroxides.

Minty-flavored mouthwashes fromDr. Brite are suitable for children who dislike the taste of mouthwash. They are also great for adults who do not like the taste of mouthwash but still want to clean their mouths. Additionally, they are plant-powered, rendering them safe for everyone.

Why Do People Have Bad Breath?

There are many reasons why people have bad breath. Some of these include:

Poor oral hygiene: Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, which can cause your breath to be bad. Gum disease can also damage tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

Smoking: Smoking damages the lining of the lungs and throat, which leads to increased production of mucus. Mucus is one of the primary sources of odor-causing compounds. You can use a Teeth Whitening Pen that is designed for people who smoke or vape.

Stress: Stress increases cortisol levels, a hormone that affects the body's immune system. The immune system is responsible for fighting off bacterial infections. Increased stress levels can weaken the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to infection.

Foods high in carbohydrates: Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and fruit juices can cause gas because they produce large amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S is a compound that smells like rotten eggs. You should also avoid frequent snacking.

Foods high in protein: High protein diets increase the amount of ammonia produced by the body, which is another source of odors.

various food served on the plate

Why It Is Important to Brush Your Teeth with Mouthwash

Using mouthwash after you brush your teeth helps kill any remaining bacteria. It further reduces the chance of developing cavities and bad breath. It also washes away debris that causes plaque.

Brushing with mouthwash is essential in maintaining oral hygiene and can improve your dental health. However, it does not entirely replace brushing. To get the most out of your oral hygiene routine, you should brush and use mouthwash every day.

How Often Should I Use Mouthwash?

The frequency of using mouthwash depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences. Most dentists recommend that you use mouthwash twice daily. That means you would use it first thing in the morning and then again before bedtime.

equipment for healthy smile

You should only use mouthwash if you feel that something is stuck in your mouth. If you do not feel anything when you open your mouth, you probably do not need to use any mouthwash.

You should also use mouthwash after eating foods that contain sugar or starch. These substances stick to your teeth and leave behind a residue that attracts more bacteria.

Also important is to remember not to use mouthwash for at least 24 hours after tooth extraction. That gives your gums and extraction site time to heal and decreases your risk of developing an infection or bleeding.

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Different Types of Mouthwashes for Different Needs

There are several different types of mouthwashes available today. Some contain alcohol, while others do not. There are also different flavors available to choose the one you like best.

What Is The Best Mouthwash For My Needs?

Some people choose to buy mouthwash based on price, while others prefer to purchase it because it contains ingredients that help maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, some people choose to use mouthwash simply because they enjoy the minty taste.

The most common types of mouthwash include:

  • Alcohol-based mouthwashes. These products usually contain alcohol as their active ingredient. They are excellent for cleaning your mouth, but they can cause damage to your teeth and gums if used regularly. Alcohol doesn't break down like other ingredients so when you buy an mouthwash beyond expiration date, you never know how if the alcohol has gone bad.
  • Non-alcoholic mouthwashes. These mouthwashes do not contain any alcohol, so they are safe for daily use. Most non-alcoholic mouthwashes contain artificial sweeteners and flavors.
  • Fluoride mouthwashes. The fluoride-containing mouthwashes provide extra protection against tooth decay.
  • Acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF) mouthwashes. These mouthwashes contain both concentrated fluoride and acid. As a result, they are effective in preventing dental caries.
  • Essential oils mouthwashes. These types of mouthwashes are designed to freshen your breath by eliminating foul odors.
  • Herbal mouthwashes. Herbal mouthwashes are made from natural herbs such as eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, rosemary, sage, chamomile, lavender, clove, cinnamon, etc.

a woman in the store holding the mouthwash bottles in her hands

Alcohol-free mouthwash is safest for children and those who suffer from dry mouth or sensitive teeth. Alcohol is added to give the product a long-lasting flavor, but it can dry and cause irritation. People with tooth decay and bad breath should use an alcohol-containing mouthwash for faster results.

Flavors and ingredients vary depending on the type of mouthwash you choose, but some familiar flavors available include fruit fresh, mint pomegranate, blue mint, bubblegum refreshing, vanilla, peppermint, and wintergreen.

It is best to consult a dentist or physician before choosing a particular type of mouthwash. Your dentist will be able to recommend the right kind of mouthwash you need.

How to Use Mouthwash

Use mouthwash as directed on the label. Do not exceed the recommended amount. If you feel any burning sensation when rinsing, stop immediately and consult your dentist.

Use a mouthwash at least twice daily. You may also use it once every other day if you are prone to gum disease.

Do not swallow mouthwash since it could irritate your stomach. If you have a dry mouth, it is best to use dry mouth spray or non-alcoholic mouthwash.

a person pouring the mouthwash

Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after brushing your teeth with mouthwash. If you find the taste of mouthwash unpleasant, try switching brands until you find one you like better.

Always store mouthwash in its original container while keeping it away from heat and direct sunlight.

Other Ways to Freshen Your Breath

The quickest way to freshen your breath is with mouthwash, but if you are unable to use it for any reason, there are other ways you can get rid of bad breath. Some natural remedies include:

  • Chewing gum 
  • Drinking water after meals
  •  Rinsing your mouth with lemon juice
  • Avoiding or limiting foods that cause bad breath
  • Eat foods high in fiber. It helps to remove debris from your mouth and can help prevent bad breath caused by food particles being trapped between teeth.
  • Avoid sugary drinks as they can cause cavity-causing bacteria to develop, which will lead to bad breath.
  • Ensure that you have regular dental checkups to keep your mouth free of decay and other problems that contribute to bad breath.
  •  Drink water that's fluoridated.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Change your toothbrush every three months.
  • Swish with salt water for 30 seconds in the morning and at night.
  • Swish with hydrogen peroxide for 1 minute, mornings and nights.

a woman with toothbrush and mouthwash

Even though mouth washing isn't an alternative to regular brushing, it helps to have a clean mouth.

Using Mouthwash Before Brushing

The use of mouthwash before brushing makes brushing easier since it breaks up and fight plaque that might be left behind after eating. It also reduces the amount of time you spend brushing your teeth. If you have sensitive gums, you may find that mouthwash causes an unpleasant burning sensation. In this case, you should try rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater instead, which is less abrasive than regular tap water.

Using Mouthwash After Brushing

Brushing your teeth without using mouthwash leaves a film of saliva on your teeth. When you use mouthwash, it removes this film of saliva. Furthermore, it allows you to remove more plaque from your teeth. 

Using mouthwash after brushing also helps keep your breath fresh. When you apply mouthwash directly onto your teeth, it mixes with saliva and forms a thin film over your teeth. The film protects your teeth against harmful bacteria.

If you prefer to use mouthwash after brushing, you should wait at least 30 minutes before going back into contact with food or drinks. It allows the mouthwash to work its way down through your teeth and reach all areas where plaque has accumulated.


Toothbrush and mouthwash are two critical tools to prevent oral diseases. You must brush your teeth twice a day and use mouthwash after each meal. Additionally, it is recommended that you change your toothbrush every three months. If you follow these simple steps, you will reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease and protect your smile.

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1. Is it better to use mouthwash before brushing?

In the opinion of the American Dental Association, it makes no difference whether you use mouthwash before or after cleaning your teeth. Both are equally effective in their respective roles. It doesn't matter what order you brush, floss, and rinse in as long as you do a thorough job and use high-quality products to achieve the best results.

2. What is the best time to use mouthwash?

Although mouthwash can be used whenever you feel the need to refresh your breath, the optimal time to use mouthwash is immediately after you consume something. As a result of the sugars in the foods and beverages you ingest, your tongue becomes more acidic. It is possible to clean your teeth shortly after eating, but doing so will brush acid into your teeth, which will cause tooth erosion.

3. Should I rinse after using mouthwash?

After using mouthwash, it is advised to avoid rinsing your mouth with water immediately thereafter. This is due to the fact that many mouthwashes contain active chemicals such as concentrated  fluoride, which take time to begin acting. If you rinse your mouth out immediately afterward, the fluoride will be wiped out as well during the rinsing procedure. Mouthwash has many oral health benefits and is essential to your daily oral hygiene routine, because it keeps the mouth healthy.

4. Should I use mouthwash before bed?

Rinsing with a therapeutic mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth healthy and remove plaque and cavities and your gums free of gingivitis. You shouldn't just use mouthwash for your breath - some therapeutic mouth rinses have special ingredients that strengthen your teeth and can treat certain oral health conditions. 

5. Should you use mouthwash everyday?

Using mouthwash on a daily basis is also an excellent addition to your oral care regimen. When used on a daily basis, it is an excellent way to refresh your breath while also killing any hazardous germs that may have remained after flossing and brushing.

6. Why do dentists not recommend mouthwash?

A 2019 analysis found that teeth discoloration was the most frequent negative effect of mouthwash use. The likelihood of permanent teeth discoloration increases when mouthwash with the prescription-only component chlorhexidine (CHX) is used.

7. Is mouthwash good for receding gums?

Therapeutic mouthwash eliminates food particles stuck between teeth and elsewhere in the mouth, slows tartar buildup, lessens plaque buildup, and helps prevent gum disease and recession. Even if mouthwash is incredibly efficient, brushing and regular flossing should still be done.

8. How long should you use mouthwash?

Spend 30 to 60 seconds doing it. Most likely, less than 30 seconds won't accomplish much.

9. What happens if you use too much mouthwash?

Large mouthwash consumption may have effects akin to those of heavy alcohol consumption (drunkenness). Methyl salicylate and hydrogen peroxide may also induce severe stomach and bowel problems when swallowed in excessive doses. Changes in the body's acid-base balance may also result from it.