In the grand scheme of things, your dental routine probably doesn’t take too much time out of your day. If you are doing it right, you are brushing for two minutes at least twice a day, and flossing between your teeth every day (after every meal, if you’re really on top of things).

Adding mouthwash is an extra step that doesn’t take a lot of time, and millions of Americans already do it. But how beneficial is using mouthwash, really?

As it turns out, mouthwash is pretty helpful when it comes to keeping your mouth fresh and clean. Here’s just some of what it can do:

  • Freshen your breath temporarily – Mouthwash comes in a lot of great, fresh flavors, and it also kills bacterial that causes bad breath
  • Help to prevent gingivitis
  • Help to prevent plaque from building up on your gums and in between your teeth
  • When used prior to brushing, mouthwash can rinse out loose particles to aid with brushing and flushing
  • Many brands of mouthwash contain fluoride that can help prevent cavities (check the label!)

It’s also important to make note of the limits of mouthwash. For example, while it can help prevent plaque from building up, it cannot remove or reduce plaque that is already there. Only brushing and flossing can do that.

Overall, mouthwash can be an important asset to your dental care routine, even if it is nonessential. Try talking to your dentist to find out if you could benefit from using mouthwash. Your dentist can even give you recommendations so you can be sure you are selecting the best kind. Just be sure to remember that brushing and flossing regularly are the most important things you can do for your teeth.