Mouthwash Cannot Take the Place of Flossing

mouthwash1While most people are sold on the idea of brushing their teeth at least twice every day, there are still some who struggle with flossing on a regular basis. It’s true that flossing does take a few extra minutes and it can be difficult to form good flossing habits in the beginning. However, studies show that flossing is essential in keeping our mouths clean and healthy.

Some people would like to convince themselves that brushing and then rinsing thoroughly with a mouthwash will replace flossing. Even though mouthwashes these days can be very effective and helpful, they simply cannot replace flossing.

How Flossing Works

There are several differences between flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. One of the major differences is that flossing involves the physical scraping of tooth surfaces. Much like a toothbrush whose bristles scrub the surfaces of our teeth to help remove plaque and debris, dental floss helps us reach parts of the teeth that toothbrushes cannot.

Along with using floss, most dentists will agree that proper technique is essential to ensure that flossing is effective. Not only should the floss coming contact with surface of the teeth but also the gums. Using floss is a good start, but if you don’t take the time to learn the most effective techniques, you are probably not doing as much good as you could.

The Limits of Mouthwash

A good mouthwash will contain fluoride as well other important ingredients that can actually help to soften up plaque and kill bacteria and microorganisms in the mouth. Unfortunately the effects of mouthwash are not as effective as flossing. The plaque needs to be removed as much as possible, not just softened.

Mouthwash can definitely help in fighting the bacteria that live on the surface of plaque, but have a very limited effect on the bacteria inside plaque. Flossing on the other hand, actually allows us to break apart the plaque and get at the bacteria that is causing the most damage.

Floss and Mouthwash Teamwork

We recommend that you use both floss and mouthwash in addition to regular brushing in order to see the best possible results. Brushing is and always will be the most important part of dental hygiene with flossing coming in at a close second. Of course, it never hurts to use mouthwash in addition to brushing and flossing to fight bacteria and plaque.

Mouthwash is always a hot topic here at Smile Concepts. I get asked about which mouthwash to use and how often to use it. My suggestion is to read the labels of the mouthwash closely before purchasing. You definitely want to make sure that your mouthwash contains fluoride to help combat decay and cavities. It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes for children.

Related: How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush

For more information or tips on maintaining a clean and healthy mouth, please give us a call at 480-951-2800.