What does Mouthwash actually do?

If you, like me, have ever found yourself in the supermarket dazzled by a psychedelic technicolor kaleidoscopic array mouthwash bottles, have you ever stopped to wonder whether you actually need it? And do they really work? Many mouthwashes claim to combat common oral health problems like bad breath, cavities and acid erosion, but can a twice daily swill of what, let’s be honest for a moment here, feels like a mouth full of bright blue/pink/green acid burning away the surface of your tongue and cheeks, really do everything it claims to do?

Interestingly, the answer is both yes and no. Did you know that most of the chemicals in mouthwash only begin to actively work after 60 seconds of gargling – meaning most people lose out on these benefits because they just swish and spit.

Mouthwash only works as a booster in an already good oral health care regime, meaning you’re wasting your time with it unless your properly brushing and flossing twice daily. That being said, the active ingredients in many mouthwashes do work, provided the above is considered. But there are as many mouthwashes as there are oral health problems, so ensuring you have the right product for you is essential, and just picking the best tasting/least expensive/prettiest bottled mouthwash is not going to cut it.

Some mouthwashes work best used at different times to tooth-brushing; some mouthwashes are recommended for short term use only; some contain more fluoride than others and some are not recommended by professionals at all!

As always, the best person to ask is your dentist, they will be able to suggest a particular mouthwash suited to your oral health needs. Every body, and by extension, every mouth, is idiosyncratic, meaning totally unique to you, so if you need a mouthwash, ask the expert. That way you’ll be able to face the mouthwash aisle knowing exactly which product you’ll be leaving with – one that will work for you.