Feb 28, 2023 - minute readminutes read

Mouthwash Basics: Swish Your Way to Better Oral Health

Mouthwash is a key component of a complete daily oral health ritual. Still, a survey found that only 49% of the UK population uses mouthwash.

The great news is that using mouthwash is a rather simple step to add to your routine... and it can make a big difference! 


It should be noted, however, that mouthwash alone is not enough. Its use must be paired with brushing and interdental cleaning for the mouthwash to truly be effective.

Education is an integral part of establishing good oral hygiene habits, so we consulted with our team of dental professionals in the R&D and Medical Affairs departments to bring you a primer on when, why, and how to use mouthwash. We’ve also included information that can help you find the mouthwash that’s right for you.

All about mouthwash

There are two primary types of mouthwash on the market: cosmetic and therapeutic.

  • Cosmetic mouthwash is what most consumers are familiar with, and it is used after brushing your teeth to remove debris loosened through flossing and brushing, as well as providing an additional source of fluoride.
  • Therapeutic mouthwash refers to several specially formulated types of mouthwash with active ingredients that are used to treat oral health conditions. These can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription. 

What are some benefits of using mouthwash?

Each mouthwash is formulated differently, so benefits will vary. The great news is that there are many.

However, the following are among the benefits that are found across several kinds of mouthwash:

  • Remineralization of tooth enamel to strengthen teeth
  • Reducing the sensitivity of nerves that cause oral pain
  • Reducing plaque and fighting plaque-causing bacteria
  • Reducing swelling and bleeding in gums
  • Freshening breath
  • Reducing symptoms of dry mouth
  • Whitening teeth 

How do I use mouthwash?

Every mouthwash is different, so it is important to follow the manufacturer's directions on the packaging to get precise information on how much to use, for how long, if the formula requires dilution, etc. This is especially important for therapeutic mouthwashes.

Mouthwash is typically swished in a closed mouth for a while before being spit back out. 

Cosmetic mouthwash should be used daily as a regular part of your oral care ritual after you have completed brushing and cleaning between your teeth.

It is best done ahead of a period when you will not be eating or drinking for a while because that will limit its effectiveness. That’s why we suggest using it as a final step in the evening oral care routine, before going to bed.

It is recommended to suspend the use of mouthwash immediately after oral surgery or tooth extraction to avoid dislodging the blood clot and disrupting the healing process. Consult with your dentist or oral surgeon for when it is safe to resume using mouthwash and which therapeutic mouthwash is best for this particular situation.

If you have known allergies, it’s wise to read ingredient labels before use to avoid a reaction. 

While it is important for children to enjoy good oral hygiene habits from a very early age, using mouthwash should wait until the child is aged 6 years or older, unless it is clearly stated on the packaging that the mouthwash is formulated for a younger age group.

It can be difficult to ensure younger children do not swallow mouthwash, and some ingredients may cause an upset stomach. In large doses, there may be other complications as well.

If you are using a mouthwash indicated for use by children under age 6, make sure it is always used under the direct supervision of an adult.

Find the right mouthwash

SUNSTAR GUM believes that mouthwash is both an important and easy step to complete your oral hygiene routine! To encourage this, we offer a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwashes.

Finding the one that is right for you depends on the current status of your oral health, what your oral health goals are, and any particular medical needs you may have. Your dentist will also be able to make a recommendation for which mouthwash is right for you.

Cosmetic mouthwashes

GUM® Original White Mouthwash

For gently whitening teeth:

  • Reinforces and protects tooth enamel
  • Removes existing stains and prevents new with the unique Stain Clear™ agent.
  • Antibacterial
  • Alcohol-free

GUM JUNIOR Mouthwash 6+

For younger kids aged 6 and above:

  • Alcohol-free formula
  • Gentle ingredients
  • Contains fluoride to aid in remineralization
  • Contains isomalt, which when combined with fluoride, enhances the remineralization effects of both ingredients.
  • Strawberry flavour

Therapeutic mouthwashes

GUM PAROEX® 0,06% Maintenance Mouthwash

For inflamed or bleeding gums: 

  • Reduces plaque and fights plaque-causing bacteria
  • Soothes sensitive gums
  • Ideal for the maintenance phase after periodontal treatment

Also available in a stronger formulation as GUM PAROEX 0,12% Intensive Action Mouthwash, ideal for encouraging healing. Always consult with your dentist or oral surgeon about when you can safely use a stronger formulation and resume using mouthwash post-surgery and/or tooth extraction.

GUM ORTHO Mouthwash

For those who wear braces, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances:

  • Strengthens tooth enamel
  • Helps prevent cavities and white spot lesions
  • Reduces plaque formation
  • Soothes irritated gums

GUM HYDRAL® Mouthwash

For those who suffers from dry mouth:

  • Coats oral tissues for increased comfort
  • Promotes the remineralization of enamel
  • Non-oily formulation
  • Free of alcohol, paraben, SLS, limonene, and linalool to limit mouth irritations

GUM ActiVital® Mouthwash

An excellent choice for an everyday mouthwash:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-plaque
  • Contains fluoride and isomalt to promote enamel remineralization
  • Soothing formulation with bisabolol to strengthen gums

GUM SensiVital®+ Mouthwash

For sensitive teeth:

  • Desensitizes the sensitive nerve endings that cause pain
  • Gentle alcohol-free formula
  • Helps prevent cavities and strengthen enamel
  • Protects and fortifies dentine

Learn more from our oral care routine and follow the three steps for a complete self care

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