Mouthwash – Are you using it correctly?

Mouthwash is not a substitute to brushing, possibly just an extra layer of protection


Bad breath or Halitosis, comes when mouth bacteria which creates dental plaque, releases volatile sulphur compounds. These then create foul smelling odour which appears as Bad breath to us. A mouthwash is an antiseptic solution which is intended to either reduce the microbial growth in the oral cavity or cancel out such components.

One of the major ingredients in mouthwash is alcohol, which surprisingly has no therapeutic value. It is added as a preservative for other active ingredients. These many-a-times cause undesirable irritation or dryness in mouth.


Two Categories

  • Cosmetic
    • They lead to temporary fresh breath which last from 1 to 3 hours
  • Therapeutic – Treat specific mouth and gum diseases
    • Helps in reducing advancement in cavities by use of the right product.
    • Helps fight Gum (periodontal) disease.
    • Useful for people with dry mouth (not generating enough saliva)

Things to consider when using them

  1. Follow the instructions given with the product.
  2. Combine this along with regular brushing to keep up the oral hygiene level.
  3. Never use mouthwash immediately after brushing/flossing of teeth. Try them after a gap of 15-30 minutes.
  4. Always spit out within 45 seconds. Never ingest as it could trouble the stomach.
  5. As children can accidentally swallow, never let children below 12 years use these products.
  6. Skip smoking/eating for 30 minutes after use to prevent dilution of its benefits.


Everyone likes to have fresh breath and a good mouthwash can definitely help you get it. Consult with your dentist to confirm if you are indeed using the right one.