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Forming good dental hygiene habits is vital to the prevention of cavities and gum disease. At 4th Street Dental Studio in Columbus, Ohio, we educate our patients on the best way to properly brush and floss every day for a clean, healthy mouth. We often get questions about the use of mouthwash. Maybe you are also wondering whether you should use mouthwash, or whether brushing your teeth regularly is good enough. In this article, we’ll explain ways to keep your teeth clean, the full benefits of using an oral rinse, and whether or not you need to use mouthwash.

How Do I Keep My Teeth Clean?

Good oral health begins with your home care. We recommend that you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, morning and evening, as part of your daily routine. This is true for people of all ages, from small children with their first baby teeth to older adults. The second key to healthy teeth is getting a routine dental checkup at the dentist’s office once every six months, or more often if your dentist recommends it. We can spot small problems before they become major issues that require costly restorations and could negatively affect your health. A routine checkup also includes professional dental cleaning, which gives your mouth a fresh, squeaky-clean feeling and puts an extra shine to your smile.

What Are the Benefits of Using Mouthwash?

What about mouthwash? Mouthwash is usually quite good for your teeth. It can help fight gum disease, and fluoride mouthwash can help prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. When you swish it around your mouth, you may be reaching places that your toothbrush can’t reach, such as the inner surfaces between teeth. It is also helpful in removing food debris that can be hard to reach with a toothbrush. Mouthwash’s main purpose is to kill bad bacteria in your mouth. A related benefit of killing the bacteria is that it also kills bad breath. Mouthwash does a great job of freshening up your breath. Another benefit of using mouthwash is that it helps reduce sensitivity in your teeth. Some people who use mouth rinse regularly notice that their teeth are whiter because the mouthwash keeps stains from setting in.

There are different kinds of mouthwash available. Some have alcohol in and some do not include alcohol. The alcohol may limit saliva production and dry your mouth out, so it is better to avoid alcohol-based mouthwash. You may also notice that some mouthwashes have fluoride in them and others don’t. Most toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride in it. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens your teeth and actively fights against tooth decay and helps prevent periodontal disease.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Mouthwash?

When you use mouthwash right after brushing your teeth, you are actually rinsing away the fluoride from your toothpaste. This is a disadvantage. Mouthwash in itself is not bad, but even a fluoride rinse does you a disservice if you swish after brushing. To prevent that, choose a different time to use mouthwash.

Should I Use Mouthwash or Just Brush My Teeth?

The most important thing is to always brush your teeth, so keep up the good brushing habits! If you choose to use mouthwash, choose a different time, such as an hour after brushing, or maybe even use mouthwash after eating lunch. Some people choose to use mouthwash before proper brushing, and that’s fine, too. In that case, the mouthwash breaks up the food particles and harmful bacteria, which makes it easier for you to brush the bad stuff away.

Questions About Oral Hygiene?

Our dental professionals at 4th Street Dental Studio in Columbus, Ohio are great at answering dental-related questions! Give us a call, or fill out our online contact form. We also strongly encourage you to schedule your next dental checkup. Taking great care of your teeth is one of the best things you can do for yourself!

Robert D. Wood, DDS

Robert D. Wood II, DDS

Third-generation dentist and Nashville native Dr. Robert D. Wood II leverages his professional experience to deliver superior dental care at his Columbus-based practice, 4th Street Dental Studio. An advocate for preventative medicine, Dr. Wood combines his patient-centric approach with his talent for transforming dental visits from daunting experiences into positive ones. Beyond his practice, he enjoys exploring Columbus, engaging in outdoor activities, and is an active member of several dental associations and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.