Mouthwashes are so popular these days when it comes to oral health. While they are not alternatives for flossing or brushing the teeth, mouthwashes offer some great benefits to its user. However, they are mostly used to prevent bad breath and tooth decay.  

While they can serve these purposes, they may be ineffective if they are not used correctly. Also, there are so many different products that are made using different formulas and ingredients; therefore, it is not every mouthwash in the market that will deliver the desired result.  

Due to this, this article focuses on discussing the most basic things everyone has to know concerning mouthwashes, from how to use them to common ingredients, to how frequently they should be used. So, let us start from the very top; what is a mouthwash? 

Definition and Origin of Mouthwash  

A mouthwash is any liquid product that is used to clean the gums, teeth, and mouth. They typically have an antiseptic that can destroy harmful bacteria living in the teeth and tongue. Since ancient times, people have been known to use liquid to clean their dentitions.  

However, the history of this procedure may be quite disgusting to your very modern eyes and ears. This is because the use of this procedure can be traced back to ancient Rome where Portuguese urine was bottled and sold as an oral rinse. You can read this article to learn more about the evolution of mouthwashes. Luckily for us, modernity has taken away the yucky nature of oral rinse.  

We may use the terms interchangeably in this article; therefore, you need to take note that another name for mouthwash is oral rinse.  

How to Properly use Oral Rinse 

The direction on how to use the product may be different according to the brand you are using. Therefore, always read the instructions whenever you get a new product. Also, ensure you always follow the product’s instructions.  

Below are some basic instructions that are common to most mouthwashes… 

1. Ensure You Brush First  

The first thing you need to do before using an oral rinse is to thoroughly brush and floss. If you are making use of fluoride toothpaste, then you need to wait a bit after brushing before you use the mouthwash. This is to prevent the mouthwash from rinsing out the toothpaste’s concentrated fluoride.  

2. Ensure You Use the Right Quantity  

Most products provide a cup and specify the quantity you are supposed to use for one rinse. So, check the product to be sure of this quantity, and ensure you do not use more than what is recommended. The usual quantity is usually between three to five teaspoons.  

3. Rinse  

Now, take the measured oral rinse and pour it in your mouth, swish it in your mouth, and do not swallow. Oral rinse is not meant to be ingested so try not to take it in. 

Now, gargle for about 30 seconds or thereabout. You can either use a watch to time yourself or mentally count the seconds.  

4. Spit  

Once the 30 seconds is over, spit the oral rinse out.  

How Frequently Should Oral Rinse be Used? 

Most mouthwashes come with a recommendation for the product to be used 2 times daily. This should typically be done only after you must have brushed and flossed your teeth.  

Using the product too often can cause the mouth tissue to get irritated, which ultimately leads to sores in the mouth. So, if you have ever wondered what to answer to “why does mouthwash burn your mouth?” this may likely be your answer. We would also like to reiterate at this point that oral rinse is not an alternative to brushing or flossing.  

Common Ingredients Found in Mouthwashes  

The ingredient found in the product usually varies from one brand to the other. However, some ingredients which are commonly found in mouthwashes are… 

  • Fluoride: this is the ingredient that gives a mouthwash the ability to fight cavities and decay.  
  • Odor Neutralizers: this is what fights against bad breath.  
  • Astringent Salt: this gives fresh breath as it is a deodorizer that can cover bad breath.  
  • Antimicrobials: fights and kills bacteria that are responsible for plaque, bad breath, gums inflammation, and gingivitis.  

Types of Mouthwashes 

Mouthwashes are of 2 main types… 

1. Cosmetic Mouthwashes 

These offer temporary control over bad breath; you would have fresh breath and a pleasant taste in your mouth after you use one of these. However, they do not offer anything beyond this. They cannot fight against gum disease or cavity.  

2. Therapeutic Mouthwashes  

These, on the other hand, contain active ingredients capable of fighting and killing bacteria in the mouth. They help reduce gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, and cavities. If it contains fluoride, then it takes it a step further and helps reduce or even prevent tooth decay.  

However, you may need a prescription for some of these, while many can be easily bought over the counter.  

How to Select a Mouthwash  

If you are looking to get a new mouthwash, then you need to consider some things. There are a lot of products in the market all offering to do one thing or the other. Hence, the first thing you need to consider is what you need the mouthwash for.  

Do you need it to fight bad breath or to cure your bleeding gums, or whiten your teeth? Then, you need to go for the product that is based on your need.  

Another thing to consider is if the product has the American Dental Association seal on it. Visit to learn more about the American Dental Association. This way, you can be assured of the efficacy and safety of the product because the association only approves products that have been proven to work.  

Functions of Mouthwashes  

Mouthwash is capable of getting to spaces that the toothbrush cannot get to just like water flossers, dental floss, and interdental brushes. As a result, they can help to reduce the chances of gum diseases and cavities. The following are some of the major functions of mouthwash… 

  • Control or prevent tooth decay.  
  • Reduces or prevents gingivitis.  
  • Reduces plaques.  
  • Fights bad breath. 


We believe that this article contains all the basic information anyone needs to know about mouthwashes. So, hopefully, you feel the same after reading through.