Unfortunately, you're not doing yourself any good by substituting mouthwash for tooth brushing. There's simply no comparison.
Many mouthwashes are strictly cosmetic – they leave your mouth smelling fresh and feeling tingly for a few minutes but don't appreciably affect oral health.
If you want to fight plaque and guard against tooth decay, you must brush your teeth for at least two minutes a day AND you may also use mouthwash. In my opinion, mouthwash isn't an absolute necessity in oral care, but it can be a nice supplement if you're using the right product.
Look for mouthwash containing cetylpridinium chloride or domiphen bromide, ingredients that dissolve that troublesome film of bacterial goo. If you want to fight cavities (especially cavities that form between teeth, where your toothbrush can't reach), look for mouthwash that contains fluoride – which many of them do.
To get the best results from your mouthwash, follow this routine.
- Brush your teeth first, then rinse (unless the
product label instructs otherwise).
- Swish mouthwash around in your mouth for a full minute, then spit it out. Don't swallow mouthwash.
- Rinse with mouthwash once a day, preferably at bedtime.
- Don't eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after rinsing.
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