Is Mouthwash A Substitute For Brushing?

So you were in a hurry, you picked up your mouthwash and had a quick rinse before you left the house, that's as good as brushing ...right?


Mouthwashes are temporarily effective at masking bad breath and as effective as rinsing with water with regards to removing surface particles. Don't get me wrong, I occasionally rinse with my favourite non alcohol, minty wash before I head out for the day, but it is no substitute for brushing and flossing. In fact, a mouthwash is most effective right after a good brush and floss as it rinses away anything that was loosened and kills some of the bacteria that still remain behind.

Keep in mind that the use of mouthwash regularly can have negative effects and on its own it is usually not sufficient to meaningfully reduce bacteria in the mouth. Some mouthwashes can cause staining of the teeth and oral tissues. The alcohol containing ones can be irritating to the mouth. Alcohol also causes drying of the tissues which can ironically cause bad breath to return rapidly.

Under certain circumstances it is appropriate to use mouthwashes regularly, with your dentist's advice. A fluoride rinse can be useful for a decay prone individual. An antibacterial rinse can help as an additional agent, after brushing and flossing, for certain cases of gum disease. A prescription rinse can be given after certain types of oral surgery or other special circumstances.

If you use mouthwash, try to use a non alcohol brand after brushing and flossing to rinse away unwanted particles and bacteria left behind. Make it a habit to get the best dental results!

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