Table of Contents
- How To Use Mouthwash
- What Does Mouthwash Do?
- When To Use Mouthwash?
- Do I Use Mouthwash Before Or After Brushing?
- What Happens If You Swallow Mouthwash?
- Alcohol Vs. Alcohol Free Mouthwash
- Does Mouthwash Expire?
- How To Use Mouthwash Wrap Up
How do I use mouthwash? Seems like a simple question, right?
Well, not exactly.
Despite it seeming like a simple task there are several things that most people get wrong about it. Furthermore, not using mouthwash properly can significantly reduce its effectiveness. In fact, not using mouthwash properly sometimes makes it entirely ineffective.
And that means you’re wasting your time. Nobody likes to waste time, especially us.
To combat this, we’ve got a full guide on how to use mouthwash along with the most commonly asked questions. In five minutes you’ll be fully aware on how to use mouthwash. You could even call yourself a mouthwash expert!
Which is awesome, because that’s what we all want to be when we grow up… right?
How To Use Mouthwash
The proper technique on how to use mouthwash can be broken down into four specific steps:
1. Pour The Mouthwash Into A Cup
Most mouthwash containers have a cap that you can use to measure the mouthwash. If the brand you buy doesn’t, you can buy these nifty little disposable cups. Just pour about two fingers worth.
Specifically, you’ll want between 15 and 20 mL or about four tablespoons per use.
2. Empty The Cup Into Your Mouth
Next, pour the cup of mouthwash into your mouth. If you can stand it, don’t dilute your mouthwash at all. Diluting the mouthwash will cause it to become less effective.
3. Swish For 30-60 Seconds
Ideally you’ll want to swish your mouthwash for a full minute. If you can’t make it up to a minute, there are a few options:
- Dilute your mouthwash: We just said not to do this. How dare we go back on our word?!? If you’ve got issues making it through a full minute then diluting your mouthwash is a good way to work yourself up to it.
The Longer you use your mouthwash, the stronger your gums and oral tissue will get. Start with a half-and-half solution of mouthwash and water. Over the next four weeks slowly increase the concentration of mouthwash until you’re swishing for a full minute at 100% mouthwash.
- Switch Mouthwash: If you’re still having issues with the burning you might want to look towards a natural mouthwash or an alcohol free mouthwash. There are plenty of excellent and healthy options that don’t include alcohol. In addition to this, if you suffer from dry mouth or have issues with bad breath, switching mouthwashes might be a good idea too (more on this later).
Make sure you target all of the important areas of your mouth. Below is a list of the major places you want to get:
- Upper gums
- Lower gums
- Underneath your tongue
- Back of your mouth
- Throat – (gargle for 10 seconds)
4. Spit Out
Finally, spit it out into the sink. Keep spitting for about 10-15 seconds – this will make sure the concentration in your mouth is low enough to swallow. After 10-15 seconds of spitting you’ll be okay to swallow your saliva without harm.
It’s important to not rinse your mouth out afterwards and to avoid drinking anything for half an hour. Most people think the bulk of the work is done during the swishing. Just as much (if not more) of the bacteria killing is done after you’re done swishing. Your mouthwash will continue to clean your mouth for about a half an hour afterwards. Getting rid of it before then will significantly reduce its effectiveness.
That’s it! All it should only take about a minute and a half of your time. It’ll do wonders for your oral health though (as we explain a bit more below). Next, we’ve got the most commonly asked questions. Let us know if we missed anything by dropping a comment below or contacting us!
What Does Mouthwash Do?
What does mouthwash do? Well, just about anything you want it to! That’s the cool part about mouthwash – it can fill in any week spots in your oral health routine. There are a variety of mouthwash options, all of which focus on specific areas. Below are the most common, along with a recommendation for a mouthwash each category:
- Gum Health: The Natural Dentist Gums Antigingivitis Rinse
- Tooth Decay: Colgate Enamel Health Anticavity Mouthwash
- Bad Breath: TheraBreath Dentist Recommended Fresh Breath Oral Rinse
- Dry Mouth: Biotene Oral Rinse for Dry Mouth
- Whitening: Rembrandt Deeply White Whitening Mouthwash
If your oral health is faltering in any of those areas, look for a mouthwash that specializes in that area.
Having issues with gum health? Try out a specialized periodontal mouthwash.
Want whiter teeth (don’t we all…)? Pick one for that.
In addition to our resources, make sure to talk with your dentist about what she/he recommends!
It’s important to note that using mouthwash is part of a health oral routine, not the entirety of it. Mouthwash is fantastic for getting into harder-to-reach spots in your mouth to kill bacteria. It won’t be able to penetrate into tighter crevices between teeth and below/above your gum line. Make sure you’re till flossing and brushing regularly in order to maintain a health mouth.
When To Use Mouthwash?
If you’re wondering when to use mouthwash, we’ve got the basics right here. The nice thing about mouthwash is that it’s super quick and simple to use. This can help you protect your mouth at all times throughout the day.
First, use mouthwash as a part of your morning and nightly oral health routine. Make sure to rinse after you brush your teeth (more on this farther down). This will help clean your teeth before the start of the day and protect them at night.
Mouthwash is an excellent way to protect against smaller events during the day. One of the major causes of teeth staining is beverages such as coffee, tea, soda or wine. A simple 30-60 second rinse after drinking one of these drinks will significantly reduce the staining on your teeth.
In addition, a quick rinse after each meal will quick flush you a large portion of the plaque in your teeth. Think of mouthwash as an in-your-back-pocket solution to all your oral health problems!
Do I Use Mouthwash Before Or After Brushing?
The age old question: rinse before or after brushing? Here’s the skinny. In general, you should rinse your mouth out with mouthwash after you brush (and even after you floss).
The idea here is that brushing and flossing will loosen all of the plaque that has accumulated on your teeth, in-between them and around your gum line. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after these two activities will get flush out all of that loosened bacteria, plaque and tartar.
In addition to that, as we said above your mouthwash will continue to work up to a half hour after you’re done rinsing. If you rinse before you brush, there’s a good chance you’ll rinse a lot of that out.
What Happens If You Swallow Mouthwash?
In smaller cases, swallowing mouthwash isn’t a huge deal. Depending on the amount of mouthwash you accidentally swallowed, the sensitivity of your stomach and how much food you’ve had, you’ll not likely experience any adverse health effects. If anything, you might have a mild stomach ache, slight intestinal discomfort and potentially mild diarrhea.
The major issues you’ll face with swallowing mouthwash come with larger amounts. If someone is regularly swallowing or drinking mouthwash, you should take action.
If you’ve got a young one, elder, or anyone else under your care who is regularly swallowing mouthwash, you should opt for a swallowable mouthwash option. Something natural such as Auromere’s Ayurvedic Mouthwash can be swallowed with no harm. This will ensure you have no issues even if this happens on a regular basis.
If someone accidentally swallows a large amount or is drinking mouthwash, follow the steps below:
- Contact An Emergency Service: Either call 911 or the National Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). Make sure to have the patients basic information nearby. This includes age, weight, type of product and amount swallowed.
- Patient Care: Don’t have the patient eat any additional food or vomit the liquid up unless told to do so by a medical care professional. Make sure to watch for specific symptoms related to swallowing or drinking mouthwash:
- Abdominal pain
- Lower body temperature
- Low blood sugar
- Sore throat
In more severe cases issues you may see issues such as convulsions or the patient could go into a coma. In very extreme cases, death is possible.
- Information: Look at the product information. The biggest concern ingredients are ethanol and fluoride. If either of those chemicals are listed as ingredients, definitely call an emergency service. Additionally, keep the bottle close to you and take it to any emergency care facility you travel to. This is important information to have and your medical care professional can use it to help treat the patient.
Alcohol Vs. Alcohol Free Mouthwash
Wondering what kind of mouthwash you should get? Like anything else, the type of mouthwash that works best for you depends on what you’re looking for that mouthwash to do.
Alcohol in mouthwash can be helpful in killing germs and bacteria, but it also comes with some downsides. First, alcohol dry your oral tissue out. If you’ve had problems with dry mouth (xerostomia) you’ll likely want to switch to an alcohol free mouthwash.
Additionally, alcoholic mouthwash often times isn’t effective at treating bad breath. In addition to drying your mouth out and hampering saliva flow, alcoholic mouthwash often simply mask the odor for 15-30 minutes. After that, you bad breath will return in full force.
Finally, if you’ve got issues with the burning sensation that comes along with alcoholic mouthwash, switching to a non alcoholic or natural option can reduce or eliminate that. We’ve got a number of excellent options for you if this is the case. Simply browse through our article on alcohol free mouthwash and natural mouthwash.
Does Mouthwash Expire?
If you’ve had your bottle of mouthwash sitting on the counter for a little you might be wondering: does mouthwash expire? The short answer is yes. Most mouthwashes do have an expiration date. In reality though, it’ll be a very long time before it actually expires. On my counter-top right now is a bottle of Crest Pro-Health that I’ve had for a few weeks. The expiration date isn’t due until later next year, so even if I really shirk on my swishing duties I’ll be fine.
Like anything else, just check on the exterior of the bottle and you’ll find a printed expiration date somewhere. Usually you’ll find it either on the back, above the label or on the bottom or the bottle.
If you can’t find one, it’s easy to contact the manufacturer to find out what the average time until expiration is. Also, keep in mind that the expiration date is the last day the product can be sold in stores. The product is generally good for a while after that period though.
How To Use Mouthwash Wrap Up
Those are the basics! We’ve done our best to research these topics and provide you with the best, most accurate information. If we’ve missed anything or gotten anything wrong, please let us know! You can do so by either dropping a comment below or contacting us!