Mouthwash. Usage. Directions

Mouthwash alongside oral irrigators, dental floss, and interdental brushes is an auxiliary method of tooth care.

Although sometimes neglected, mouthwash has many uses and eliminates a considerable proportion of the bacteria that reside mainly in the mucous membranes and gums, places that toothbrushes cannot reach.

Used in excess, in high concentrations, several times a day, for long periods of time, chlorhexidine mouthwash can cause a reversible, yellowish staining of the teeth.

How much mouthwash do we use every day?

  • For maximum effectiveness, the dose of mouthwash should not be neglected. It is recommended to use 15ml of mouthwash, once a day, after brushing your teeth.

  • If its concentration is too strong, the patient can also dilute the solution in a glass of water. The concentration of each product is written on the label and the doctor or pharmacist can indicate which types of mouthwash can be used as such or which require dilution.

  • The form of presentation is different depending on the manufacturer, so mouthwash can be found in bottles which are poured in a pre-suited measure or which are fitted with pumps. In each of these cases, the patient will pour or press the plunger as many times as necessary until the indicated dose is obtained.

Role of mouthwash

  • It is good to know that mouthwash cannot replace regular tooth brushing. While brushing removes plaque from teeth with rotating movements, mouthwash removes bacteria, maintaining oral hygiene. Thus, mouthwash complements the hygiene protocol already in place. Bacteria residing in the oral cavity are responsible for the colonization of both dental and soft tissues. At dental level, they cause caries and at mucosal level, inflammation, lesions or irritation.

  • Halitosis removal: Bad mouth odor is a major social impediment affecting not only the patient but also the family and friends. Mouthwash is responsible for ensuring fresh and pleasant breath. It is good to know that halitosis can have many other causes that require a check-up at the dental surgery. When this sign is observed, the first step is to address the cause, as mouthwash is only protective and not curative.

Product variability by content

  • Alcohol – Mouthwashes with or without alcohol content are available on the market in varying percentages. The patient should mention if he/she has an alcohol intolerance to avoid mucosal damage.

  • Fluoride – some mouthwashes have a higher concentration of fluoride, particularly recommended for patients at high risk of caries. The dentist should assess and consider each source of fluoride the patient uses to avoid intoxication, called fluorosis, which leads to the appearance of unsightly and irreversible white spots on dental crowns.

  • Chemicals – for patients who are sensitive to certain chemicals or wish to avoid absorbing certain elements from their mouthwashes, there are herbal products that are also effective in combating bacteremia.

The use of mouthwash should be an integral part of dental hygiene in both young and elderly patients. It should be noted, however, that mouthwash only complements the hygiene achieved by brushing and cannot replace it.

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