Should I use mouthwash?

We’ve written many times here about how important it is to not rinse your mouth out with water after brushing - as it rinses away the fluoride from toothpaste that should remain on your teeth to protect them. But knowing whether to use mouthwash or not is often a source of confusion. So we’re here to help rinse out the mouthwash fiction from the facts.


If you are brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and effectively, there is not strictly a need to add mouthwash to your regime. However, using mouthwash has several benefits:

Breath deodorisation: Regularly using mouthwash can help improve the smell of your breath

Bacteria reduction: The harmful bacteria that can cause bad breath and tooth decay can also be controlled by the combination of brushing, flossing and using mouthwash

Additional fluoride: Many mouthwashes contain fluoride, which helps to strengthen and protect your teeth. 

Mouthwashes are also recommended for brace wearers, who may benefit from the additional fluoride and rinse action. At Oral Health Care, our brace wearers love Swirl Plus Mouthwash, which contains fluoride and contains a special blend of natural mint oils to create a cool, refreshing peppermint flavour. It is also alcohol-free, which is more gentle and kinder to your mouth.

Vitis Orthodontic Mouthwash is another great option for brace wearers or those prone to oral lesions, for which it has a rapid healing effect.

After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste. Do not use water or toothpaste to rinse your mouth out straight after brushing. Instead, use a fluoride mouthwash at a different time of day, such as to freshen up after lunch. Don’t then eat or drink for 30 minutes, to ensure your teeth get all the benefits. Do not rinse your mouth with water after using mouthwash, as that will wash away the protective fluoride that needs to sit on your teeth.

Do not use mouthwash to mask ongoing dental hygiene problems, such as bad breath. This could be caused by a build-up of bacteria, and should be discussed with your dentist and/or hygienist.

Do not overuse mouthwash - once a day is enough, otherwise you may disrupt your oral microbial balance.

To ensure your teeth are healthy before you start using mouthwash, we recommend a check-up with your dentist and a thorough clean from your hygienist.