mouthwash before or after brushing

Many dentists recommend the use of mouthwash as part of your overall oral health routine. But, when is the best time to do it–before brushing or right after?

Read on and understand the two schools of thoughts and decide which one will work best to improve your oral health.

What is a Mouthwash?

A mouthwash or oral rinse is a liquid antiseptic solution that reduces microbes in the oral cavity. Dental recommended mouthwashes are also used as an analgesic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory solutions.

There are two types of mouthwash: Cosmetic mouth rise and Therapeutic.

The Cosmetic mouth rinse is commonly used to lessen bad breath, temporarily. It usually leaves a pleasant smell and taste in the mouth right after use. These are often referred to as whitening mouthwashes. But, you should be careful when purchasing one, especially if your expectations are that your teeth will whiten within a week.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes are often used as saliva substitutes to help neutralize the acid inside the mouth, keeping it moist as well.

Before or After You Brush?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the right time to wash your mouth. It depends on your purpose for washing your mouth and the type of product that you will use.

Using Mouthwash Before Brushing

Gargling with your favorite solution could soften the plaque and the small particles trapped in areas that your electric toothbrush couldn’t reach.

Using mouthwash before brushing gives the liquid the ability to break up hard plaque and debris inside your mouth. It will be a lot easier for you to scrub off those left-over particles from the hard-to-reach places of your mouth when you use your toothbrush.

Using Mouthwash After Brushing

Brushing your teeth first would remove the food particles stuck in between your teeth. Those particles may block the oral rinse from reaching hard-to-reach areas. So, rinsing your mouth with your favorite solution after brushing helps you ensure that all of the residues have been successfully removed.

When the scrubbed off residues are gone, it will be a lot easier for the liquid to do its work in between your teeth. You also have to worry else about the growth of bacteria and plaque buildup because the oral rinse can already cover all areas of your mouth.

Using a Mouthwash Best Practices

Using mouthwash has many benefits.

Some people don’t get its full benefits because choosing the wrong products, or they don’t do it properly.

Here are five of the best mouthwash practices that may help us in getting the most out of using an oral rinse:

When brushing, always use toothpaste with fluoride content.

Fluoride is known to prevent tooth decay. It slows down the breakdown of enamel which is often caused by plaque found on the surface of your teeth. The plaque can produce acids that seep into the rods of the enamel and break down its entire internal structure.

best practices for using mouthwashUse mouthwash 40 minutes to one hour after brushing your teeth. It’s best if you use fluoride-containing mouthwash as well. It helps protect your teeth from cavities and plaque buildup.

While others look for an oral rinse that promises fresh breath, the most important consideration in choosing a product is its ability to fight tooth decay and scrape off hard plaques. In fact, if you want lasting fresh breath, there should be no cavities and plaque that would encourage the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.

How much mouthwash should you use?

It depends on the product label. Some products recommend 20 ml.

Don’t just pour it on your glass. Use a small measuring cup instead to ensure that it is the right amount.

Dentists often require their patients to stick by the recommended amount of mouthwash. There is a reason why the most common mouthwash dosage is 20 mL or 4 teaspoons. It is because that amount would be enough to have its intended effect in your oral cavity.

Don’t forget to swish! Upon pouring the contents inside your mouth, make sure to swish the mouthwash around for 30 to forty seconds. That is the right amount of time for the oral rinse to reach all the areas inside your mouth; including the gums, the roof of your mouth, and all of your teeth. Rinsing for around forty seconds is the best way to eliminate bacteria in hard-to-reach spaces.

Resist the urge to eat or drink after washing your mouth. If you want to get the most benefit from using an oral rinse, wait for at least thirty to sixty minutes before you ingest anything. That means, no smoking, drinking or even sucking a piece of candy in less than an hour. Doing this would help you keep the active ingredients of the mouthwash from being splashed away.

Gargle with your oral rinse before you sleep at night. It is best to do it after dinner or after your midnight snack.  Cleaning your mouth with your oral rinse before bedtime will ensure that the active ingredients will work on your gums and teeth overnight.

What Type Of Mouthwash T Use?

  • If you buy a fluoridated mouthwash, use it after brushing. It would give the leftover fluoridated toothpaste on your teeth enough time to repair your teeth and eliminate the sugar and starch on food particles.
  • Highly alkaline mouthwashes should be used before brushing. An oral rinse that contains sodium hypochlorite improves the fluoride uptake into your enamel.

But, generally speaking, it’s really your call.

If you want to rinse your mouth every day, use essential oil oral rinse.

Always read the product’s label, because some mouthwashes are acidic and enamel-eroding.  But, if you prefer chlorhexidine mouthwash, here are some tips to keep your teeth healthy:

  • Rinse your mouth at 30 minutes after your brush your teeth. It applies to all types of mouthwash. Rinsing your mouth straight after brushing your teeth will wash away the concentrated fluoride (left by the toothpaste) on your teeth.
  • Don’t use it for more than 2 weeks. It can cause stains on your teeth.

Author: Peter Mayhew

Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.