Read the label.

When buying mouthwash, read the label carefully. Some mouth rinses include whitening agents, fluoride, or other additives that may not be helpful to certain people. Colors and preservatives can pose challenges to those who are allergic or sensitive to them. Mouthwashes perform various functions, so find the product that best suits your needs.

Use small amounts.

You don’t need a cup of mouthwash every time you rinse. Usually, a small, half-capful is enough. In fact, if your mouth is sensitive or you are concerned the mouthwash might be too stringent, dilute it with water by half to see how it goes. Gradually work your way up to using the rinse full strength. Some dentists believe you don’t need to rinse more than once a day, which helps to avoid irritating the gums and mouth, especially if the mouth rinse contains alcohol. Ask a dentist how often you should be using mouthwash.

Mouthwash doesn’t replace brushing and flossing.

Busy people sometimes want to quickly rinse with mouthwash instead of following the recommended steps for complete dental hygiene, including brushing and flossing. Mouthwash alone is not an effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Follow a multi-step plan of dental care to prevent cavities and promote oral health.

Shop for mouthwash as carefully as you shop for other important health care products. Quality mouthwash can enhance your dental care efforts at home and contribute to great dental checkups twice a year.