Why you shouldn’t use mouthwash after brushing

There are so many different products for oral care. When you go to the supermarket, there is literally an aisle of toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes and floss. Do you really need all these products?

If you want healthy, strong teeth, there are some things you must do. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to have great oral health, avoid cavities, and keep your teeth healthy for life… and you don’t need to buy a whole aisle of products to do so.

You can skip mouthwash after brushing

Some people love that astringent, fresh feel you get with mouthwash. It helps to kill bacteria and gives you that minty-fresh feeling. However, it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria. Most people can skip mouthwash after brushing, as it washes away the high concentrations of fluoride that toothpaste leaves on your teeth. 

However if you struggle to brush your teeth, for instance if you’re older and mobility is tricky for flossing and brushing, then mouthwash can be a good addition to your mouth-care regime. Also, if for some reason you have to skip brushing, if you forgot your toothbrush while travelling or can’t find somewhere appropriate to brush, then mouthwash can be a great temporary saviour.

But, overall, you can skip mouthwash. And, it can actually be better to skip it.

Effective brushing is the most important thing you can do

Brushing your teeth is the most important step in healthy teeth. It removes built- up plaque to stop the bacteria and food acids damaging teeth, and it prevents it for forming for another 12 hours.

It does this in two ways. One, is the gentle up-and-down brushing action removes the existing the plaque build-up. Secondly, the fluoride remains on the teeth afterwards, minimising the ability of bacteria to form. This is why you should never rinse with water or mouthwash after you brush. Even though mouthwash has some fluoride in it, it’s not as much as toothpaste. 

So, skip the mouthwash and rinsing with water after you brush—you could be removing an important protective factor.

Only floss the teeth you want to keep healthy

Flossing is super important. It removes food that gets caught between the teeth, taking away potential sources of decay. It also makes it easier for the fluoride from brushing to go between the teeth to protect them.

If you struggle with flossing using traditional floss, then try to use dental floss toothpicks. Some people prefer these, and they do the same job as floss. If you prefer to not floss at all, then prepare to have a lot of cavities between your teeth.

Minimise sugar intake

Sugar is the most damaging thing for your teeth, as the bacteria that cause decay form very quickly on sugar. Part of good tooth care is avoiding sugar, particularly aerated sugary drinks. The combination of acid and sugar in fizzy drinks make them tooth-toxic.

Aim for no more than four periods of sugar consumption a day- and this includes sugary tea and coffee or snacks as well as desserts or drinks.

How to Repair Damaged Teeth?

Although it’s far easier and cheaper to maintain the health of your teeth than repair them, there are still a wide range of options available for damaged or missing teeth. Talk to your dentist about what options might be best for you. With today’s advancements in dental implants and dental surgery, there are many ways to replace teeth with implants that feel like your natural teeth. 

If you’re lucky enough to live in Auckland, New Zealand, have a chat about dental implants with Dental Artistry, the dental implant experts based in Newmarket.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.