Here's How You Should Use Mouthwash

by Kali Borovic

Pour, swish, and spit, right? Wrong. It turns out that there's a right way to use mouthwash, according to science, and it's a little more complicated than that. Just like brushing your teeth or picking the right face wash, there is a way to personalize your mouthwashing experience, and the details often get overlooked. After seeing these seven ways to correctly use mouthwash, you'll have a much more pleasurable experience — and be healthier, too!

I don't remember my dentist ever telling me just how important it is to pick the perfect mouthwash. Your journey to better mouth hygiene starts when you're standing there trying to decide which bottle to buy. Choosing the wrong mouthwash could have negative side effects, such as ulcers, tooth staining, and even a change in taste. If that's not enough to convince you that a few more minutes in the grocery store is worth it, then I don't know what is.

That's not a reason to freak out, though. Once you know which type of mouthwash is right for you personally, half of the battle is already won. From there it's all about what feels the best for you, and makes your time at the sink the most comfortable. After reading these seven steps, you'll be a pro in no time.

1. Pick The Right Formula

According to the American Dental Association, there are two types of mouthwash out there, and finding the right one for you is important. Which one you pick depends on what you want to get out of your wash.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

Thera Breath Oral Rinse (2-pack), $15, Amazon

Cosmetic mouthwash temporarily treats bad breath, according to Mouth Healthy, meaning that it gets rid of odor but doesn't stop it from forming in the first place. This is great for getting minty, fresh breath in a pinch.

Therapeutic Mouthwash

Listerine Soft Mint Antiseptic, $25, Amazon

The second type not only gets rid of bad breath, but also helps protect against plaque, gingivitis, and cavities as well. It's your best bet if you're looking for extra protection.

2. Check The Labels

Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash, $8, Amazon

While you're shopping, there are also some ingredients that you'll want to avoid. Some people prefer all-natural products, and there a plenty on the market, but it all comes down to personal preference.

3. Brush And Floss

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

You should brush and floss your teeth before using mouthwash to get as much plaque and build-up out as possible. This makes it easier for the mouthwash to do its job.

4. Measure The Correct Amount

InterDesign Gina Mouthwash Caddy, $13, Target

According to, you want to get a full 20 ml (or four teaspoons) of mouthwash into every rinse. Be sure not to dilute it because it makes mouthwash less effective. There are dispensers you can buy to get the perfect amount every time.

5. Pick Your Timing

It's up to you to pick the perfect swish time, as I like to call it, but it should be somewhere between 30 to 60 seconds. If you really can't stand the 30 seconds, then start with 10 and work your way up.

6. Gargle


I know it sounds old school, but gargling for 30 to 60 seconds kills all the bacteria hiding back by your throat. You can gargle with the same liquid in your mouth or spit it out and use a fresh rinse.

7. To Rinse Or Not To Rinse

OXO Rinse Cup, $13, Amazon

This step is completely up to you. If you do rinse, your teeth won't be protected for as long, according to Lifehacker, but there's no harm in rinsing if you're going to feel more comfortable.

That's all you need for the perfect mouthwash every single time!

Images: Kevin Schmitz, Dan Watson/Unsplash (1)