Are You Using the Right Mouthwash? | Tiffany Ngan DDS

Willow Street Dentist

While it should never replace brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information or for a personalized recommendation, contact our team at White Willow Family Dental today!

Choosing the Right Mouthwash

With numerous brands and varieties available, most mouthwashes fall into two categories recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic.

  • Cosmetic Mouthwashes: These treat symptoms only, such as temporarily masking bad breath.
  • Therapeutic Mouthwashes: These aim to treat the cause of an issue. For example, fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes help strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content.

Dr. Tiffany Ngan DDS and our team can help you understand the differences and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs.

Should I Use Mouthwash?

If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit Dr. Tiffany Ngan DDS at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on your teeth’s unique needs, it might be beneficial to incorporate a specialized mouthwash into your routine.

Although mouthwash is not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a useful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge food particles and mask any lingering odors on your breath.

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine

  • After Flossing and Brushing: Use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth.
  • Swish for 30-60 Seconds: Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds.
  • Avoid Rinsing Afterwards: Do not rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the mouthwash time to work.

Side Effects of Mouthwash

When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation. If sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask Dr. Tiffany Ngan DDS about alcohol-free options. For children, it is important to supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous.


Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of incorporating mouthwash into your oral care routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact White Willow Family Dental today!

White Willow Family Dental of Willow Street
Phone: 717-740-2200
212 Willow Valley Lakes Drive Suite 209
Willow Street, PA 17584


White Willow Family Dental
212 Willow Valley Lakes Drive Suite 209
Willow Street, PA 17584

Office Hours

Monday: 8AM–5PM
Tuesday: 8AM–5PM
Wednesday: 8AM–5PM
Thursday: 8AM–5PM