Guide to Mouthwash

This is a question we’ve wondered about for ourselves: should we be using mouthwash?

First, for children, the ADA says kids under the age of 6 should not use mouthwash (unless a dentist recommends it), because of the risk of them swallowing it.

The two general types are cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwash. Cosmetic mouthwash only provides superficial benefits, temporarily making your breath smell better, for example. Therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, addresses the underlying causes, working to solve the problem instead of simply masking it.

If you have gum disease or other periodontal problems, you should talk to your dentist about an antibacterial mouthwash. Otherwise, it’s not really necessary. Mouthwash can make your mouth cleaner and get rid of plaque you’ve missed, but it isn’t necessary and may come with health risks. Most importantly, if you choose to use mouthwash, it’s not a substitute for brushing and flossing.

In short, feel free to use it if it helps you feel fresher, but know that, unless a dentist says otherwise, you don’t need mouthwash to maintain a healthy mouth.