Posted in Fluoride, Gum Disease/ Gingivitis, Mouthwash, Prevention

Mouthwash – When, Which, & How often?

There are 2 types of mouthwashes – those that strengthen your teeth and those to make the gums healthier.


Mouthwash for stronger teeth:

The wrong way to use mouthwash is straight after brushing. Toothpaste has a high concentration of fluoride and mouthwash has about 1/10 of that of toothpaste. Effectively if you rinse your mouth with mouthwash straight after brushing, youre going from a high concentration of fluoride to a low concentration of fluoride (so you’re diluting the toothpaste). No point!

When is the best time to use mouthwash? Straight after a meal (just like chewing sugar-free gum). After a meal you want to coat your teeth with fluoride to give your teeth a boost of strength, as the acidity from the food you’ve just chewed weakens the teeth. So to recap, you want to chew sugar-free gum or rinse your mouth with mouthwash. For example, if you brush your teeth before breakfast and don’t brush your teeth after breakfast, use a mouthrinse before you’re off to work.

You may want to take a sample-sized mouthwash to work and keep re-filling it and rinse your mouth after you eat lunch.

How often do I recommend to mouthwash? If you’ve had a naughty meal. I’ll let you be the judge of that, but I’d be happy with once a day. It’s not a substitute for brushing though, it’s something that you can add to regiment.

Which mouthwash is good? In this article I am purely referring to mouthwashes that target strengthening your teeth. This means any mouthwash that contains fluoride in it. I must say do not buy one that contains alcohol (ethanol) in it. It will dry out your mouth and leave an unpleasant, dry feeling. Not to mention it’s not nice to the gums. I love the Colgate Plax range I find they are gentle to the gum. I do not recommend Listerine as it left my gums feeling disgusting. I can tell if a patient uses Listerine because their gums often have a torn-like appearance on them. For these 2 reasons it’s not my personal choice. It’s the essential oils found in Listerine that leave your mouth feeling unpleasant.


Mouthwash for healthier gums:

If you want a mouthwash for the gums, I would recommend you first brush your teeth better before spending money on a mouthwash. If you’ve got gum disease (bleeding gums), a mouthwash won’t help you. It’s not the first protocol of action. If you’re a smoker and you think a mouthwash will stop you from losing your teeth and stopping your gums from receding, then you would be mistaken. I am sure one day the scientists will invent something awesome like that but not today I am afraid. Quit smoking.

Savavol (alcohol-free) is great for managing (not treating gum diease but helping the gums settle down a little bit) gum disease short-term. It is usued 2xday morning and night time, about 1 hour before or after brushing your teeth, for 2 weeks. You use it for 2 weeks, then do not use it for 5 weeks, then use it again for 2 weeks, then don’t use it for 5 weeks etc. If you use it for longer than 2 weeks, it will stain your teeth and fillings and the stains are a nuisance to remove. You can’t remove them, your dentist has a special machine that does it. For the 5 weeks that you don’t use Savacol, you can use something like Colgate Plax (the pink bottle).


  • Use for 2 weeks, 2xday AM and PM, 1hr before or after brushing your teeth
  • Don’t use it for 5 weeks
  • Use it for 2 weeks
  • Don’t use it for 5 weeks
  • Use it for 2 weeks
  • Don’t use it for 5 weeks


Mouthwash for dry mouth:

As we age our mouth can get so dry that it can affect our sleep and if you’re in that category, you know how frustrating it is to take up from a dry mouth. It is a real problem. Please don’t try the Biotene mouthwash. My patients have tried it and I have never had a patient saying it works. It does not work. Tooth mousse is great for dry mouth – you put a large pea-size amount in your mouth and rub the cream all along your teeth and mouth right before bed. You’ll wake up less often in the middle of the night and if you do, just smear some cream on and go back to sleep. The cream acts like a long-lasting lubricant. Bonus is it’s also amazing for your teeth.

GC Dry Mouth Gel flavour.gif



An online healthy lifestyle blog from a dental point of view - Advice on how to live a healthy lifeSMILE :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s