Taking care of your oral health involves doing all the usual things such as brushing and flossing. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and using mouthwash after brushing. (1)
Mouthwash, also often referred to as mouthrinse or oral rinse, is sold in various flavours, colours and brands at your local pharmacy and supermarket. Given the choices available it can be difficult to select the right one that fits your needs. Before deciding, we recommend that you speak with your dentist who may help you make the right choice based on your unique needs. In certain special cases, your dentist may diagnose and underlying condition and even prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash that isn’t available over the counter.
At Daybreak, we pride ourselves on being guided solely by the science. As the scientific understanding of oral health evolves, it is also crucial for consumers to stay updated on what ingredients, hitherto considered safe and efficacious, are best avoided. This blog aims to create a basic understanding of why mouthwash should be a crucial part of one’s oral care regimen and guide you through the sea of information available so that you can make the right product choice.
Let's get started.
5 frequently asked questions about mouthwash.
1. So…what does mouthwash actually do?
Mouthwash removes food particles, plaque & bacteria from the surface, and more importantly, from within the gaps of your teeth which helps prevent dental caries (cavities). Often, these crevices can be hard to reach for your toothbrush.
In addition to this, mouthwash has traditionally been marketed as the ultimate solution to halitosis (also just known as bad breath). However, halitosis is often NOT exclusively a result of poor oral hygiene. According to the Cleveland Clinic, halitosis can also occur due to a number of health conditions, including dry mouth, heartburn or even disease in another part of your body. (2) While the minty flavour of your mouthwash may help mask bad breath for a short while, it is unlikely to resolve all of the underlying issues that may cause bad breath.
In fact, in many cases, your mouthwash may be exacerbating your halitosis. Read on to find out how.
2. Does mouthwash at least kill the bacteria in my mouth?
Yes, most popular mouthwashes commonly available at your local supermarket destroy the bacteria in your mouth. This is achieved by using ingredients such as alcohol and other antimicrobial ingredients such as chlorhexidine and CPC. However, dental science rejects the claim that “killing 99.9% of germs” in your mouth is a good thing.
This is because much like the gut, your mouth is home to hundreds of species of bacteria known as the oral microbiome. A balanced, well-functioning oral microbiome is crucial to protect your mouth from ailments such as cavities, gingivitis and halitosis. Alcohol-based mouthwash indiscriminately destroys all bacteria which can result in several health issues.
A study in 2019, found a link between regular use of antibacterial mouthwash and increased risk of hypertension. (3) In fact, antibacterial mouthwash could inhibit the blood-pressure lowering effects of exercise. (4) Alcohol-based mouthwash can cause dry-mouth by disrupting the mouth’s natural production of saliva. Because saliva plays a key role in remineralizing your teeth, dry mouth can put you at higher risk of cavities and halitosis. (5)
3. So, does this mean I should avoid mouthwash entirely?
Mouthwashes with the right formulation can still play a key positive role in your oral care regimen. However, we at Daybreak always urge you to read the label for ingredients that might do more harm than good. The next time you consider buying a mouthwash, ensure it’s free of the following toxins:
- Chlorine Dioxide, and
Many mouthwash formulas also contain fluoride that can help prevent cavities. However, fluoride is also known to cause developmental neurotoxicity when consumed in high amounts. For adults, the risk of fluoride toxicity via the use of a fluoride mouthwash is limited. However, we at Daybreak recommend using products with safer, more effective fluoride alternatives like hydroxyapatite (HAp).
A gentler formulation like the Daybreak Restore Rinse can help you not only get minty, fresh breath, but also help remineralize your teeth with its active multi-mineral complex.
4. Got it! What’s the best time to use mouthwash?
With a gentle, alcohol-free formula like the Daybreak Restore Rinse, you need not worry about side effects such as dry mouth or stinging sensations from excessive usage. We recommend that you use the mouthwash after brushing and post meals.
To use the Daybreak Rinse:
- Take roughly 20ml of undiluted mouthwash in a cup
- Rinse for 45 seconds; swish the mouthwash in your mouth so that you cover all corners
- Spit the mouthwash out into the sink and you’re all set!
It is completely safe to swallow your saliva after using mouthwash and you don’t need to rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Because children are likely to inadvertently swallow most of the liquid, we recommend this product for ages 12 and up.
5. What are some other Mouthwash DO's and DON'Ts?
To reiterate, not all mouthwashes are created equal. The wrong mouthwash can do more harm than good in the long term. Therefore, we recommend that you -
- do brush and floss your teeth daily before using mouthwash; a mouthwash is not a substitute for good oral hygiene practices
- do read the labels on your mouthwash to ensure that the ingredients in your rinse do not negatively impact your oral microbiome which acts as the mouth’s natural defense
- do look for good ingredients such as xylitol and aloe vera when choosing a new rinse
- do not swallow the rinse — spit it out instead!
- do not conflate the burning/stinging sensation of the big brand mouthwash with a cleansing effect
Good mouthwash can be an effective tool in your oral health care arsenal. It is, however, important to understand how and when to use mouthwash and more importantly, what kind of mouthwash is best for you.
Daybreak's oral wellness products use ingredients that are completely food grade and handpicked by experts. Our products are biocompatible and work with your mouth’s natural ecosystem, not against it. You can explore Daybreak's range of oral health care products that contains the best toothpastes, mouthwash etc at https://atdaybreak.co/ or write to us at email@example.com.
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