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A mouthwash to round out your daily brushing and flossing routine can help freshen breath, fight gum disease and ward off cavities. While cosmetic rinses help your breath smell fresh, they don’t address the root of the problem like antibacterial rinses do. Antibacterial mouthwashes go to the heart of bad breath—killing the bacteria that causes bad breath. Antiseptic mouthwashes kill bacteria along with viruses, and fungi, etc. but they also contain alcohol which can dry out the mouth. To prevent cavities, fluoride rinses will do the job best.

The American Dental Association (ADA) states that you can use a mouthwash either before or after you brush your pearly whites. The trick to using a mouthwash properly is making sure you do it long enough so it has time to work. It takes at least 30 seconds to work well, any less than that and you won’t reap the full benefits. Manufacturer’s recommend anywhere from 30-60 seconds.

Follow manufacturer’s directions and pour the correct amount into your mouth. Next, close your mouth to create a seal and prevent it from spilling out when you swish it around. Swish it back and forth in your mouth for about 30-60 seconds, around the back and front of your teeth, around the molars, under the tongue and the roof of the mouth.

For maximum effect, remember to gargle to kill the germs that congregate in the back of the mouth. You can gargle with the solution still in the mouth, or rinse and gargle with a fresh amount for another 30-60 seconds. To gargle, place some mouthwash into your mouth and take a deep breath. Tilt your head back as far as it will go and open your mouth. Say “ahhhh” slowly and when you run out of air, tilt your head back to normal and take another breath. Repeat, then spit.

If you choose to not rinse the mouthwash with water afterwards, it is best not to drink anything for at least ten minutes. And if you are using a hydrogen peroxide or high alcohol mouthwash, you should rinse after using. Leaving a strong mouthwash in your mouth can irritate or dry out your mouth.

Finally, be sure to use a mouthwash that carries the ADA Seal of Approval on the product packaging, This ensures that it is safe and effective. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our Virginia Dental Group team at 703-385-3800 today!