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Is It Bad If You Stop Using Mouthwash?

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Mouthwash is a part of many people's dental routines, and it takes less than a minute to do. Yet after brushing and flossing, mouthwash may seem like overkill. If you're currently using mouthwash and wonder if you can stop, the answer is yes, kind of. You won't create any major problems for yourself by stopping the use of mouthwash, but you may find that your mouth doesn't feel as good as it used to.

Smaller Overall Effects

Mouthwash actually does have a beneficial effect. After you brush and floss, you can still have all these tiny bits of debris in your mouth. They're loose, but the floss and brush simply missed them. Rinsing your mouth out after flossing and brushing catches these bits and sweeps them out. The reason you want to use mouthwash to do that instead of water is that mouthwash can also contain medications to soothe oral sores or freshen breath. Some are also gingivitis fighters.

Less Dry Mouth?

If you've been using mouthwash that contains alcohol, not using that mouthwash might result in less dry mouth. The alcohol in these mouthwashes can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making the washes less than comfortable to use, and contributing to an overall sense of discomfort. If that's the only reason why you're thinking of not using mouthwash, you can look for brands that are alcohol free. Many major brands are releasing versions that contain zero alcohol, so finding several to try should be easy.

That Satisfied Feeling

There's something about washing your mouth out with a minty, slightly stinging concoction that makes it seem like everything has been completely sealed. No debris is left, there are no raw spots where floss hit the gumline a bit too hard, and so on. Most of all, you don't feel like eating for a while. That clean feeling in your mouth is akin to having a completely clean sink: you don't want to place any dirty dishes in it and undo all the cleaning you did. After you use mouthwash, you don't want to eat for a while, and you give your teeth a break from food debris. If you don't use mouthwash, you lose that feeling. It might not sound like a very big thing, but for people who like the feeling, the loss of that feeling can be disappointing.

If you're still unsure, talk to your dentist. It could be that you need to change brands or that you need additional features, like plaque fighting in addition to breath freshening. Go to sites like to find a dentist wwho can advise you.