Mouthwash, also called oral rinse, is a liquid product used to rinse your teeth, gums, and mouth. It usually contains an antiseptic to kill harmful bacteria that can live between your teeth and on your tongue.

Mouth wash in Dentistry


The primary fact about mouth washes is that they are NOT a replacement for brushing and flossing in terms of oral hygiene and it’s only effective when used correctly. It’s also important to understand that different product formulas contain different ingredients, and not all mouthwashes can strengthen your teeth. Though most of the mouthwash products available readily claim efficacy in reducing bad breath, cavities, gum problems, it’s not advisable to buy and use them, just because they claim. Your dentist is the best judge to diagnose your oral condition and suggest a suitable mouthwash. 


Mouth washes are available in two types, cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily control bad breath and leave behind a pleasant taste, but have no chemical or biological application beyond their temporary benefit. Therapeutic mouthwash, by contrast, has active ingredients intended to help control or reduce conditions like bad breath, gingivitis, plaque, and tooth decay. 

The most commonly found ingredients in mouthrinse include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients, and coloring agents. Depending on the type of mouthrinse, the active ingredients may vary as follows:

  1. Antimicrobial agents: by acting directly on oral bacteria, these agents help reduce plaque, decrease the degree of gingivitis, and control bad breath
  2. Fluoride: this ingredient helps reduce tiny lesions on tooth enamel, making teeth less susceptible to decay
  3. Astringent salts: these temporary deodorizers can be used to cover up bad breath
  4. Odor neutralizers: these agents work by chemically inactivating the compounds that cause breath odor

Patients should discuss with their dentist which mouthwashes are suitable for use as part of their oral hygiene cleaning measures.


Step 1: Pour 10 ml of mouthrinse or mouthwash in the cap. Unless specifically mentioned on the label, do not dilute with water. You can use a mouthwash before or after brushing as per your preference.

Step 2: Empty the cup into your mouth and keep it shut while swishing to prevent the liquid from squirting out.

Step 3: Swish the liquid in your mouth for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Check the directions on your product label to know the exact time the product you’re using requires you to swish.

Step 4: Once you’re done, spit out the liquid in the sink. Make sure that you don’t swallow the liquid as mouthrinses and mouthwashes contain chemicals that aren’t fit to be ingested.

Step 5: While using a fluoride mouthrinse, wait for at least half an hour before you rinse, eat or drink again. This is because fluoride ions take time to diffuse into the teeth’s enamel. By eating or drinking before 30 minutes, the ions may get washed off.


  1. Mouthwash can damage some parts of the mouth: Mouthwashes with high alcohol content can burn the delicate mucus membranes in the mouth.
  2. Mouthwash can stain and darken teeth: When chlorhexidine gluconate, an ingredient present in some mouthwashes, comes in contact with food additives left in the mouth, it can result to staining or darkening of the teeth.
  3. Mouthwash can irritate canker sores:  Mouth washing can help heal canker sores, but when you use a type of mouthwash that has a high alcohol content, it can further aggravate the condition.
  4. Mouthwash can simply mask bad breath and not for a long time. Mouthwashing will never be a substitute for tooth brushing. Using mouthwash is just one of the many areas of proper oral health. While it can conceal problems by giving temporary fresh breath, it will not be able to address oral issues on its own.


Mouthwash can be dangerous for children when ingested. Children are prone to accidentally ingesting mouthwash, and it can have serious health hazards for them. It can result to convulsions and in more serious cases, it can lead to comatose. Children between the ages of six and 12 should be under adult supervision when mouthrinsing. Meanwhile, those who are below five years old should only use mouthwash when prescribed by a pediatric dentist.


From The age of 6 years, kids can start using regular mouth washes. Some mouth washes have been specially manufactured for kids, with exciting flavours, that your kids love! Make sure you teach your kids the importance of brushing and flossing and also rinsing well with water or mouthwash, so that it becomes a habit and keeps their oral hygiene at their best!

Kids can start practising using normal water first, so that they gain motor reflex control and once they master rinsing and gargling, then they can start using regular mouth washes usually with fluorides for preventing decay.  Your paediatric dentist will explain and demonstrate how to use a kids mouthwash. Keep the mouthwash away from the reach of children. Avoid alcohol based mouthwash. Our paediatric dental speciality at The Dental Specialists has a team dedicated to the cause of prevention through care and education followed by meticulous treatment protocols. 


  1. Use prescription mouthwashes as directed by The Dental Specialists team(i.e., dose, frequency, time in mouth). 
  2. With over-the-counter products, look for authentication.  The seal must show that a product is safe and effective for the purpose claimed.
  3. Using a mouthwash does not replace regular brushing and flossing.  Mouthwashes may offer additional benefit in terms of reducing the risk of bad breath, cavities, or gum disease; or for relief of dry mouth or pain from oral sores or any other conditions listed above. 
  4. While using mouthwash or rinse perfects your dental care regime, they are to supplement and not replace other crucial habits such as brushing, flossing and bi-annual dentist appointments. By maintaining a daily routine, you can effectively keep your mouth healthy.

Still have questions about Oral Mal-odour or Mouthwashes? We’d love to talk with you. Don’t hesitate to  request an appointment online , over the phone or our website to contact us

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