Wild news just in: a dentist has gone viral on TikTok after saying that the majority of us are using mouthwash wrong. How so? Well, apparently it’s better to use mouthwash before cleaning your teeth, not after.
In a series of three videos, which have now collectively been viewed over 2.5 million times, Dr Anna Peterson explains it’s best to use mouthwash after you eat, or before brushing your teeth, and that not doing so can even result in tooth damage.
So what is the issue with mouthwash after you brush?
‘Using mouthwash after brushing your teeth is going to give you tooth decay, so stop doing it,’ she says in one video, before adding in another. ‘Your toothpaste that you brush your teeth with has around 1450pp fluoride… [Whereas] your mouthwash has only 220pp fluoride.
‘This is a much lower concentration and it’s not enough to protect your teeth from sugars that you eat and drink. So when you brush your teeth, and you rinse with mouthwash straight away – you just rinse off all the high concentration fluoride, for a low concentration fluoride.’
Dr Peterson continued on to say, ‘And in our evidence based toolkit for delivering better oral health, all dentists should be following this… And by no means am I against mouthwash. Because I do actually recommend it to my patients. But not every patient needs it. I certainly don’t tell them to use it after brushing.’
What does another dentist have to say?
Keen to learn more, we chatted to Dr Anjum Jahan, a dentist at the Sante Clinic, who said the ‘when to use mouthwash’ debate has actually been going on for years – and that there’s another misstep we’re all making when we clean our teeth, too.
‘There is no right or wrong answer as [to when to use mouthwash], this is entirely up to you and depends on what you are trying to achieve,’ Dr Jahan says. ‘It’s important to understand that the key role of mouth washing is to help aid the dislodgement any food particles or plaque and kill bacteria in your mouth.
‘Some people prefer doing this prior to tooth brushing as it can help enhance the effectiveness and ease of debris removal with a brush. Others prefer to use mouthwash after brushing to leave the mouth with a refreshing clean feel.’
She continues: ‘Both toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride in different concentrations with toothpastes typically having a greater concentration of fluoride. Which is why it would be ideal to use mouthwash prior to tooth brushing or at a different time as fluoride is important in contributing to your teeth defence against tooth decay.’
Anything else I should know?
As for that other teeth-related myth we mentioned? ‘One of the most important message that many patients do not know, more important than the use of mouthwash, is that simply spitting after tooth brushing is preferable to rinsing with water.
‘Why? Because it keeps the beneficial fluoride from the toothpaste present on your tooth surface for longer. Rinsing [with water] immediately dilutes this fluoride and reduces its preventative effects.’
That’s us told.
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