Feeling Extra Clean: Mouthwashes For You

At Smile By Design in Mountain View, CA, our dentists love helping our patients leave with a brighter, whiter smile. It comes with hard work, maintaining a healthy oral regimen, including brushing and flossing at least twice a day. But some patients haven’t ventured into the realm of mouthwashes before, and don’t know where to begin. While not required, it’s highly recommended that you add mouthwash to your cleaning remedy, as mouthwash can often reach those hard-to-reach places that a toothbrush and floss can’t get to.

Types of MouthwashesA man uses mouthwash after brushing his teeth.

There are a few basic mouthwashes that you can look into:

Cosmetic Mouthwash

These types of mouthwashes are a temporary relief for bad breath, a.k.a. halitosis, and they can help wash away extra food particles stuck between your teeth. However, the true cleaning tool are mouthwashes that include fluoride.

Fluoride Rinse

There is no magic concoction to disintegrate the plaque on your teeth, but a fluoride rinse works hard to fight the acids where plaque comes from. It’s especially useful for patients who are more vulnerable to cavities, or have a weaker enamel.

For both of these washes, they are often found over the counter and are available in a variety of flavors to soothe even the most sensitive patient.

Proper Use of Mouthwash

  • Always make sure you’re using the right amount. Most mouthwashes come with directions on how much to use. For example, it can be a “capful.”
  • Follow directions during swishing and watch the clock. On average, you should swish the mouthwash around for about 30 seconds to a minute, and then immediately spit it out.
  • Combine with brushing and flossing. No daily regimen is complete without brushing or flossing, so don’t take mouthwash as a substitute for either.

What to Do If You Swallow Mouthwash

So, what happens if you accidentally swallow your mouthwash? It can happen to anyone, but the key is not to panic. For the most part, swallowing a small amount of mouthwash isn’t life-threatening, but may induce nausea or diarrhea. However, if you or a loved one swallow larger doses of mouthwash, call the National Poison Control Center for help (1-800-222-1222). Large doses of fluoride or ethanol (both of which are sometimes ingredients in mouthwash) can be harmful to your body.

When it comes to children, always supervise their use of mouthwash until they are old enough to do it on their own. On average, the recommended ages for supervision is age 6 to 12.

Contact Us for Your Dental Care

In Mountain View, CA we want to help our patients reach their smile goals! If the appearance of your smile has left you wanting, come visit Dr. Shen and her amazing variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures. We’ll give you the care you need to leave with a healthier, more beautiful smile. Feel free to contact us if you ever have a question about your treatment.