For good oral health, everyone needs a good dental health routine – and, yes, that means both brushing and flossing. But, does it mean using mouthwash as well?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as whether you need to brush or floss. So, let’s dive in and tease out the details to help you decide whether you should be putting in the extra money and time to do the swish!

Proper mouthwash technique


If you don’t put in the effort to use mouthwash properly, it’s probably not worth doing at all. So before we get into the particulars, let’s cover the proper technique.

After brushing, take a capful of your preferred mouthwash then swish it around inside your mouth for 30-60 seconds. Now, that doesn’t sound like a long time, but it sure feels like it when you’re doing it, so try timing yourself the first few rounds to make sure you’re swishing for a least 30 seconds. 

Finally, gargle it in the back of your throat, then spit it out. For best results, avoid rinsing out your mouth afterward to allow the mouthwash to continue doing its job.

How important is mouthwash?

As dentists, we always recommend using mouthwash at least once a day, because it’s not going to do you any harm. 

In fact, chances are it will penetrate cavities you can’t (or didn’t) reach with your toothbrush or floss to help you avoid gingivitis and bad breath. As far as we’re concerned, that’s always a win!

However, using it is not going to make as big of an impact on your dental health as brushing or flossing. In fact, for some, the difference is negligible. 

So, if you’re really short on time, you can skip this step. However, if you can take an extra 30 seconds a day, we do recommend using it.

What kind of mouthwash is best?

There are all kinds of mouthwash out there, from ones that help whiten teeth to those that help fight dry mouth. 

So, your best choice will depend on what you want.

However, whichever mouthwash you choose, we recommend using a fluoridated mouthwash to help strengthen teeth. Also, make sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on it.

Mouthwash: A strong sidekick

If you want to use mouthwash, we highly recommend it. However, what we never recommend is replacing either brushing or flossing in favour of rinsing with a mouthwash. It’s best to think of it like a superhero sidekick – like Robin (mouthwash) to Batman (brushing & flossing).

So feel free to add mouthwash to your oral health routine. Just don’t try to make mouthwash your dental hero!