There are different categories of mouth rinses, but those that contain fluoride can help prevent cavities by protecting teeth against cavity-causing bacteria. Using a fluoride rinse can enhance your regular oral care routine, but remember that using a fluoride rinse does not replace twice-daily toothbrushing and daily flossing for complete oral health.
Follow these steps to get the most from your fluoride mouth rinse:
- Brush and floss first. Teeth should be as clean as possible to get the full benefit from a rinse.
- Use the right amount. Use the amount of rinse indicated on the label or as directed by your dentist or dental hygienist.
- Swish like you mean it. Keep your mouth closed and swish the rinse vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
- Spit. Don’t swallow mouth rinses. The sodium fluoride in most fluoride rinses can be toxic, if large quantities are swallowed. If you allow your child use mouthwash, supervise to be sure that he or she spits it out and doesn’t swallow it.
To get the most benefit from a mouth rinse, avoid eating, drinking or smoking for at least 30 minutes so you don’t dilute the fluoride.