Is Mouthwash Bad for You? A Dentist Explains

No, mouthwash isn't bad for you; it's all a matter of having the right ingredients and a good oral care routine!

What's not so great is when people use mouthwash solely without brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste, and flossing. This can lead to serious risks like:
  • gingivitis
  • cavities
  • tooth decay
  • and several dental issues

Mouthwash generally serves the common purpose of promoting oral health by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth and freshening your breath.

Keep reading as we explore how mouthwash should be used safely and if this can really be bad for you.

What Is Mouthwash?

A man holding SWISH Mouthwash

Mouthwash, also known as oral rinse, is designed to be swished around your mouth and then spit out.

It is a unique liquid typically containing antiseptic ingredients to eliminate bacteria and promote cleanliness among your teeth, gums, and tongue.

Its primary purpose is to kill oral bacteria that can lead to issues like:

Also, it's a valuable part of your dental care routine, as it helps you reach areas that brushing and flossing may miss.

However, you should keep in mind that is not meant to replace brushing with toothpaste tablets and using expandable floss. Instead, it serves as a supplementary step in your oral hygiene.

How Does Mouthwash Work?

A lady beside SWISH Mouthwash

Mouthwash fights chronic bad breath thanks to its abilities to:

  • Kill Bacteria: It targets and reduces the bad bacteria in your mouth, helping to prevent issues like plaque and gingivitis.
  • Freshen Your Breath: Mouthwash often contains ingredients like spearmint and peppermint essential oils that leave your mouth feeling fresh.
  • Clean Hard-to-Reach Areas: It reaches places that brushing and flossing may miss, providing a more comprehensive clean.

Research indicates that the antiseptic action of mouthwash not only kills bacteria but also plays a crucial role in preventing gum disease and maintaining overall oral health.

How to Use Mouthwash

To use mouthwash properly, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Pick up some SWISH Mouthwash
Step 2: Shake well before use
Step 3: Measure the right amount, about 20 mL
Step 4: Swish for about 30 seconds
Step 5: Spit, don't rinse (well, rinsing is up to you, but you don't have to!)

You should keep in mind that the effectiveness of mouthwash also depends on how and when you properly use it. For best results, use it once or twice daily.

The Benefits of Using Mouthwash

A bottle of SWISH Mouthwash and its Box Packaging

Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important aspects of overall health.

Brushing and flossing regularly is clearly important, but incorporating the use of mouthwash can provide additional benefits that are often overlooked.

Reduces Plaque Buildup

Plaque buildup is a common issue that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Using mouthwash can help reduce the amount of plaque buildup on your teeth and gums, leaving your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

Prevents Gingivitis

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is also a common dental issue that can often lead to more severe dental problems.

Using mouthwash can help prevent the onset of gingivitis by removing harmful bacteria from your mouth.

Prevents Tooth Decay and Cavities

Tooth decay and cavities are major dental concerns that can have serious consequences if left untreated.

Using mouthwash on a regular basis can help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria that cause these issues.

Disinfect the Mouth

Mouthwash has disinfectant properties that can help kill harmful bacteria in your mouth.

This can be especially useful when you are feeling under the weather or have been exposed to a lot of germs.

Reaches Difficult Corners and Crevices

Mouthwash is a liquid that can reach places in your mouth that a toothbrush or dental floss may not be able to reach.

This can help clean hard-to-reach areas and provide a deeper clean.

Using mouthwash is like giving your mouth a little boost! It's such a simple and effective way to step up your dental health.

The cool part? It's not just about that fresh feeling – using mouthwash can actually help prevent bigger dental issues later on.

Mouthwash Considerations and Precautions

Mouthwash, while beneficial for oral health, can have implications for the oral microbiome.

The oral microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria in the mouth, and the use of mouthwash may influence its balance.

So, certain considerations and precautions should be kept in mind to ensure that the benefits of using mouthwash align with maintaining a healthy oral microbiome.

Considerations When Using Mouthwash

  1. Type of Mouthwash: Choose a mouthwash tailored to your specific oral health needs, whether it's for freshening breath, reducing plaque, or addressing gum issues.

  2. Frequency: Be mindful of how often you use mouthwash. Overuse, especially with alcohol-based varieties, may lead to dry mouth and potential disruptions in the oral microbiome.

    So the advisable usage should be 30 seconds of swishing twice daily.

  3. Ingredients: Check the ingredients, especially if you have sensitivities or allergies. Some mouthwashes may contain components that could cause adverse reactions.

  4. Fluoride-free Content: If your primary goal is strenghtening your teeth, consider opting for a mouthwash without fluoride, look for hydroxyapatite 

Precautions for Mouthwash Use

  1. Follow the Instructions: Adhere to the recommended usage guidelines on the product label.

    Using more than the recommended amount or frequency may not necessarily yield better results and could have adverse effects.

  2. Avoid Swallowing: Mouthwash is designed to be spit out, not swallowed. Ingesting significant amounts may lead to unpleasant side effects or toxicity.

  3. Alcohol Content: If you're sensitive to alcohol or prone to dry mouth, consider choosing an alcohol free mouthwash to prevent dehydration of oral tissues.

  4. Consult with a Dentist: Before incorporating a new mouthwash into your routine, consult with your dentist, especially if you have specific oral health concerns or conditions.

By carefully considering these factors and taking necessary precautions, you can optimize the benefits of mouthwash while minimizing potential risks to your oral health.

Is Mouthwash Bad for Kids?

A kid rinsing her mouth

No, mouthwash is not bad for kids; oral hygiene is essential for everyone!

Research suggests that incorporating mouthwash into a child's daily oral hygiene routine can help reduce the risk of developing dental caries.

However, children below the age of six should not be using mouthwash unless under the supervision of parents or healthcare professionals and know how to spit.

Further, mouthwash can also improve the quality of breath, which may have a positive effect on a child's confidence levels.

That said, it's important to choose the right type of mouthwash for your child.

Antiseptic mouthwash with alcohol may cause toxicity concerns, especially if your child accidentally swallows it.

Therefore, alcohol-free and natural mouthwashes are the safer option.

Mouthwash Ingredients That Can Be Bad for You

A man holding mouthwash

Mouthwash is a popular oral hygiene product that many people use daily.

However, it's important to be aware of the ingredients used in mouthwash and their potential effects on our health.

Here are some ingredients commonly found in mouthwash that you should avoid:

Alcohol (Ethanol)

It might provide a quick clean feeling, but it can dry out your mouth, causing bad breath and making teeth more prone to trouble.


This antibacterial agent is meant to fight bad bacteria, but too much can stain your teeth, cause a burning sensation, and mess with your taste buds, children and pregnant women should avoid this kind of mouthwash.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

It makes a good foam, but it may irritate your mouth, causing canker sores. If you're prone to mouth troubles, look for an SLS-free mouthwash.

Summary: Is mouthwash bad for you?

A woman holding a jar of SWISH Mouthwash

No, mouthwash is not bad for you, especially if you choose an alkaline mouthwash like SWISH.

In fact, mouthwash has numerous benefits for our dental health such as:

  • reducing plaque bacteria
  • preventing gingivitis
  • and freshening breath

For best results, you should use it twice daily after brushing with nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste, flossing, and tongue scraping.

In conclusion, when it comes to mouthwash, it's not about being bad or good - it's all about finding the right one for your pearly whites!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mouthwash bad for you?

No, mouthwash is not inherently bad for you. The key is using the right ingredients and maintaining good oral care practices. For example, choosing an alkaline and alcohol-free mouthwash is a safer bet than using cheap alcohol mouthwash.

What happens if I use mouthwash without brushing and flossing

Using mouthwash alone can lead to risks like gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay, and other dental issues. It's crucial to combine it with brushing and flossing for a comprehensive oral care routine.

What is the primary purpose of mouthwash?

Mouthwash is designed to eliminate bacteria and prevent issues like plaque buildup, bad breath, gum disease, dry mouth, sensitivity, and canker sores.

How does mouthwash work?

Mouthwash works by killing bacteria, freshening your breath, and reaching hard-to-clean areas that brushing and flossing might miss.

How should I use SWISH Mouthwash for optimal results?

First, make sure you have a regular routine of brushing and flossing. Then, pick up some SWISH, shake well before use, measure about 20 mL, gargle for 30 seconds, and finally, spit without rinsing.

Can mouthwash replace brushing and flossing?

No, mouthwash cannot replace brushing and flossing; it's a supplementary step. While it helps reach areas missed by brushing and flossing, it doesn't replace them.

Are there ingredients to avoid in mouthwash?

Yes, for best results, you may want to avoid mouthwashes with alcohol (ethanol), chlorhexidine, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash
Swish Mouthwash

Swish Mouthwash

Regular price$20
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Immerse yourself in the revitalizing freshness of our latest formulation, Swish. A testament to biöm's unwavering commitment to holistic health and well-being. Harnessing the potent benefits of mother nature, our mouthwash combines science and nature's bounty to deliver a unique solution for impeccable oral hygiene and lasting fresh breath.

Bottled at 16 fl oz, our herbal mouthwash formula takes the best of what nature has to offer:

Neem and Licorice Extracts: Used for centuries in traditional medicine, these power-packed botanicals promote oral health by combating harmful bacteria and providing natural anti-inflammatory benefits.

Spearmint and Peppermint Essential Oils: Long-lasting freshness is no longer a dream. These cooling natural oils ensure you'll enjoy a pleasant, long-lasting minty freshness that truly invigorates.

Xylitol and Stevia: We've incorporated these natural sweeteners to provide an enjoyable, refreshing taste without any guilt – they actually help in maintaining a healthy pH balance in your mouth!

Aloe Vera Juice: Say goodbye to the harsh, drying effect of traditional mouthwashes. Our formula includes these natural moisturizing agents for a comfortable rinse that leaves your mouth feeling hydrated.

Not just that, our formula is as kind to the Earth as it is to your mouth:

❖ Free from harsh chemicals and artificial preservatives

❖ Cruelty-free and vegan

❖ Eco-friendly packaging


Shake well before use. Swish approximately one tablespoon of mouthwash in your mouth for about 30 seconds, then spit it out.

Experience the biöm difference today – because your oral health is a reflection of your overall wellness.