In this post, you are going to learn what a good mouthwash is and how to choose a good mouthwash.
This post contains lots of commonly asked questions about mouthwashes like
- What is mouthwash?
- Why is mouthwash important?
- Ingredients of a good mouthwash
- How does mouthwash work?
- When should you use mouthwash?
- How to make a natural mouthwash?
Bonus: 4 Alternatives to Mouthwash, one is my favourite!
So if you want to know how to choose a mouthwash, you will love this post.
Let’s dive right in.
What is mouthwash?
A mouthwash is a liquid sold in the stores which contain concentrated ingredients like alcohol and other antibacterial contents to help clean the mouth. Users can gargle or swish around in their mouths for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then spit out into the sink.
Why is mouthwash important?
A mouthwash may be prescribed by a dentist for various reasons like problems relating to gum diseases like tooth decay and cavities. You can use it on the dry mouth or for anti-inflammatory purposes after a dental operation. The main reason for personal use is for curing of bad breath.
Types of Mouthwash
Generally, there are 2 types of mouthwash – cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwashes.
This type of mouthwash, like TheraBreathe Oral Rinse, only treats bad breath temporarily.
It only masks the bad breath and does not solve the root of the problem. After a while, your bad breath may return. As such, it is only useful for instant breath pick-ups.
Therapeutic mouthwashes will address the root causes of bad breath. At the same time, it protects against tooth decay and can reduce the chances of getting gum diseases. Anti-plaque properties will help to limit build-up of plaque leading to the prevention of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
Other types of mouthwash include those that can desensitize, useful if you are dealing with sensitive issues.
If you need a boost of fluoride (if deficient in waters in your residence), you can find mouthwash with the content of sodium fluoride.
Ingredients of a Mouthwash
This is the very first ingredient that you will see in a typical bottle of mouthwash. Alcohol works to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth but it also drys out your mouth.
In fact, it is eroding the protective layer of your enamel, so it can contribute to loss of plaque and cause tooth decay in time to come.
In order to extend shelf life, acidic agents have been added to stabilize the contents throughout the distribution channel until they arrive in the stores.
It is true that a good mouthwash can reduce the bacteria in your mouth, but there are also good bacteria that you need in your system. Mouthwash can clean out the good bacteria along with the bad ones.
Ingredients That Fight Bad Breath
These will include
- Cetylpyridinium chloride – An ammonium compound that kills bacteria
- Zinc chloride
- herbs and essential oils like menthol and EucalyptusOther active ingredients
Some of these are fluoride (prevent cavities), Thymol, Triclosan, Chlorhexidine (prevent dental plaque)
How Does Mouthwash Work?
If you are using mouthwash daily, bear in mind that it is never a replacement for proper toothbrushing, flossing and keeping your dentist’s appointments.
In fact, doing a mouthwash rinse can really be omitted if you already have good oral hygiene.
If you do use, follow the following guidelines.
1. Rinse in your mouth for a minimum 60 seconds. Anything below that, you will not be reaping the benefits as the chemicals need time to sink in and work their way among the gum and gaps of teeth.
2. Refrain from eating or drinking after 30 minutes, so as to allow the ingredients of the mouthwash to do its work effectively during that period.
When Should You Use Mouthwash?
You can use it once to twice a day. It is best not to use it immediately after brushing as you do not want your fluoride in toothpaste to be compromised by any cleaning agent in the mouthwash.
As such, the middle of the mornings is usually good as it starts your day fresh. You can do it mid-day like after lunch, where the mouthwash can do a clean up of plaque builds from leftover food particles.
It also depends on your dental condition. If you are suffering from serious gum diseases or recovering from dental surgeries, follow your dentist’s advice. It could be to use as often as twice a day.
If you are managing fine with twice-daily toothbrushing and diligent on your flossing, it may be fine to do three times a week.
Here is a video of how you can use mouthwash as a quick freshen up during the day.
1. Who can use mouthwash? Can children use mouthwash?
Adults with chronic bad breath and those that desire to achieve excellent oral health conditions can reap wonderful benefits if they include mouthwashes in their oral routine. Children above the age of 6 could be allowed to use mouthwash under their parents’ supervision.
2. Can Listerine get rid of plaque?
Being a market leader in the mouthwash industry, Listerine works to remove bacteria and reduce plaque. It uses essential oils of eucalyptus, menthol and also combined with thymol and methyl salicylate to combat hard-to-reach plaque and germs that can cause gingivitis and bad breath.
3. How long does mouthwash last?
Usually, they have a shelf life of 3 years from manufacturing. If you are using three times a week, one bottle should last you minimum a month of usage.
4. Can you soak your retainer in mouthwash?
I don’t see why not, as long as you don’t do it too often. Always remember to dilute it with water, and give your retainers a good rinse and brush it with soft bristles. You may only soak for 30 minutes.
5. Does mouthwash kill your taste buds?
Due to the nature of alcohol in the ingredients, it may cause a stinging sensation. Users have reported their taste of food have toned down if they used mouthwash in the mornings. Another option is to go for non-alcohol mouthwashes. Or simply use at nights before sleep.
How to Make A Natural Mouthwash?
Bonus: 4 Natural Mouthwash Recipes
If you want to avoid buying a store-made mouthwash, here are 4 alternatives to having your own rinses. They are easily made in batches at home and using natural materials readily found in your kitchen.
1. Use a Salt Solution
This is easy to make. Just a tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle in your mouth for 30 secs, reaching and swishing as far back to your throat.
This is excellent to remove the inflammation in your mouth and gums, especially if you have a sore throat.
2. Oil Pulling
I talked a lot about Oil Pulling and how it can be added to your oral health routine.
Oil Pulling is an Ayurveda method of swishing a suitable oil like coconut or sesame seed oil in your mouth for 5 to 20 minutes.
The oil will attract the bacteria inside your mouth due to the oily nature of these bugs.
After swishing, the coconut oil will pull out all the bad bacteria from the nooks of your mouth. You then spit it into a trash bin and continue brushing as usual.
3. Homemade Baking Soda Solution
The good thing about this baking soda solution is that you can add your own favourite essential oils.
Add a teaspoon of baking soda to 8-ounce water with and you will have a homemade safe alkaline mouth rinse that cost less than a slice of pizza.
Top it up with a good few drops of peppermint oil and that will surely last you a few good rinses.
4. OraWellness Healthy Mouth Blend.
This is by far my own favourite. 100% organic and contains the good essential oils of peppermint, spearmint, and clove that have antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties. I did a full review of my experience here.
Let me know in the comments below if you are a current user of Mouthwash, which brand you use and how you are liking it?
Read next > My alternative to using mouthwash – I use OraWellness Healthy MouthBlend instead.