Mouthwash oral rinse is a liquid product used for rinsing your teeth, mouth, and gums. It primarily consists of an antiseptic for killing harmful bacteria that live between your teeth and tongue. While some people use a mouthwash to fight off bad breath and to prevent tooth decay.

Mouthwash will not replace your regular oral hygiene of tooth brushing and flossing. Some kinds of mouthwash, like fluoride mouthwash, help protect your teeth against the acids produced by the bacteria that form plaque. Sometimes your dentist also prescribes a special mouthwash to help you recover from fungal infections and other gum diseases.

Some important points to keep in mind if you want to get the maximum from using mouthwash

  • Dilute the mouthwash if required: Make sure to read the label on any mouthwash brand that you are selecting. Not all have the same concentration, and some might recommend diluting the mouthwash with water. 
  • Mouthwash is not a replacement: Your mouthwash is not a replacement for your regular oral hygiene routine. Even if your dentist has recommended a mouthwash, you still need to follow your regular oral health care routine.

A typical mouthwash consists of the following ingredients.

  • Fluorides: They assist in reducing tooth decay, and sensitivity,  remineralizes teeth and prohibit cavities
  • Antimicrobials: This help kill the bacteria responsible for bad breath, gingivitis, and plaque
  • Astringent salt: It's a kind of deodorizer that causes the contraction of cells and other body tissues and reduces the bleeding gums
  • Odor neutralizing agent: They usually attack the cause behind the bad breath
  • Whiteners: They assist you in the removal of the teeth stains

Let's know how to use mouthwash safely to get the maximum benefits?

Product direction might vary depending on which mouthwash brand you are using. Never forget to follow the instruction mentioned in your package.

Below are some basic instructions that are applicable for most of the mouthwash:

  • First, brush your teeth: Start your routine by flossing your teeth first, and then use toothpaste to brush your teeth regularly. If you use fluoride toothpaste, you must wait a while before using your mouthwash. The mouthwash will wash away all the fluoride content you obtained through toothpaste.
  • Quantity of mouthwash to use: You can pour the mouthwash into a cup provided by the product or the plastic measuring cup. Use only that much mouthwash that the product instructs. It is primarily between 3 – 5 teaspoons.
  • Now rinse: Put the cup's content into your mouth and swish it across your mouth for a minute or two or as instructed. Do not swallow, as mouthwash is not meant for ingesting. It will not work if you drink it. After rinsing, you can gargle for about 60 seconds.
  • Spit it out: Now, it's time to spit it out into the sink once you are done with swishing and gargling.

When should you use mouthwash?

While some people use mouthwash as part of their daily teeth cleaning routine, you can also use it to banish bad breath. Even if there are no strict guidelines for using mouthwash, if you want to strengthen the tooth enamel and fight off gum disease, you must use the mouthwash regularly after brushing and flossing. Your teeth should be cleaned before mouthwash to get the best outcomes.

How does mouthwash work and benefit your oral health?

The ingredients of every mouthwash vary as different products function for other purposes. Mouthwash kills the bacteria with antiseptic ingredients such as alcohol, eucalyptol, and menthol. These ingredients enter into the crevices present between your teeth and other areas that are hard to reach by brush bristles. They have a slightly harsh feeling and sting a little bit whenever you use them.

Few types of mouthwash claim to make your tooth enamel stronger with their fluoride content which helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride imparts a protective coating on your tooth surface thus making your teeth durable and resistant to plaque.

There are certain precautions you need to follow while using a mouthwash.

Mouthwash consists of a large volume of fluoride and alcohol. You should not ingest these ingredients in high amounts. 

When you have sores or lesions in your mouth, use mouthwash to kill the bacteria and speed up healing. But remember to speak to a dentist before you use a mouthwash.

Underlying health issues sometimes cause oral sores, and if you douse such sores with antiseptic and fluoride, you will do more harm than good.


Mouthwash can prohibit or inhibit lousy breath, rinse out the plaque, and fight off gum disease. But you cannot use mouthwash as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. To reap maximum benefits from mouthwash, it's essential to use it properly. 

But if you have recurring bad breath or suspect you have gum disease, then mouthwash can prove to be a good option. You must consult a dentist and discuss ongoing oral health conditions in such cases. You can also visit that has skilled dentists who are always ready to cater to all your queries regarding mouthwash and its uses.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.



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