What mouthwash actually does...

What mouthwash actually does...

Before we get started, let's make one thing quite clear. If you are using your mouthwash as an ALTERNATIVE to brushing and flossing, you are making a big mistake! If you believe using EXTRA mouthwash would solve your problem, think again.

Too much mouthwash might irritate the tongue. As a result, this could impact your eating habits. Commercial mouthwashes use large quantities of certain chemicals that can be hazardous to your health so before you take a swig, read the ingredients and be mindful of the effects.

What Does Mouthwash do?

While the main goal for most mouthwashes is to freshen breath, there are other benefits certain mouthwashes can offer such as remineralizing weakened enamel, reducing plaque that causes gingivitis and also restoring your mouth to a healthy pH by reducing acid. 

If used correctly, mouthwash has the ability to enhance your dental health. Saliva is our mouth's ‘natural’ mouthwash. It aids in the removal of germs that can lead to foul breath and gingivitis so keeping your mouth moist is essential.

Mouthwashes can offer a significant number of benefits including-

  • Freshen breath: Using mouthwash on a regular basis might help to improve the aroma of your breath (as long as it’s alcohol free).

  • Bacteria reduction: The combination of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash may also reduce the dangerous bacteria that can cause foul breath and dental disease. But be careful because you do not want to use products that can disrupt your oral microbiome.  

  • Hydroxyapatite: An ingredient that’s been used by NASA for years to help rebuild bone and enamel.  It’s completely non-toxic and bio-identical to enamel.  

Ingredients in the Mouthwash

If you have gum disease or are recuperating from an infection, your dentist may recommend a specific mouthwash or mouth rinse. What your mouthwash can accomplish for you is determined by the type of mouthwash you select or your dentist recommends. Many have particular germ-killing compounds that help prevent plaque buildup on the teeth and excess germs in the mouth. Some mouthwashes are just purely “cosmetic” with the main goal to freshen breath, while others give anti-cavity benefits from ingredients such as hydroxyapatite. 

Most mouthwashes include the following ingredients:

  1. Alcohol: An antibacterial agent that aids in the killing of bacteria (originally was used as a treatment for gonorrhea). However, because it’s so drying to the oral mucosa in your mouth, it makes bad breath worse so I am firmly against using anything alcohol based.

  2. Detergents: help dislodge and remove food debris and loose plaque (hmm…just like in laundry?)  Look up the ingredients folks because what goes into your mouth also goes into your bloodstream.

  3. Flavors: Enhance taste (what’s the harm with a little sodium saccharine?)

  4. Preservatives: Prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouthwash.  Watch out for things like Poloxamer 407, sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben which are used to extend the shelf life of many top selling brand name mouthwashes, and have been shown to be cytotoxic (study) ¹ and carcinogenic (study) ².

  5. Water: Dissolve the other ingredients.

  6. Chlorhexidine (Savacol or Peridex): Aids in killing ALL bacteria and helps with bleeding but must be prescribed by professionals.  Can cause brown stain and also alter taste buds.

How to Use Mouthwash

Patients frequently ask me what’s the best way to use mouthwash so it improves their dental health. Mouthwash sounds like a no-brainer, yet the appropriate application is frequently ignored. Here are some things to keep in mind when using mouthwash:

  • Make a routine of rinsing your mouth twice daily with mouthwash (chemical free is always best).

  • Only a small amount is usually required, 1 teaspoon is average.

  • Place in mouth and swish/gargle for 30 seconds. Gargling is GREAT as it helps stimulate the vagus nerve.

  • After 30 seconds of rinsing and gargling, spit it out.  DO NOT SWALLOW.

  • Do not gargle or rinse with water after you spit out the solution otherwise you just rinse away the positive benefits of the mouthwash.

How often should you use it?

There are many studies that have demonstrated that mouthwash can be an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and your breath smelling minty fresh. It is recommended not to use more than four to five teaspoons in a 24-hour period if you’re using a typical commercial brand. However, this does not apply to natural based mouthwashes that do not alter the oral microbiome. So PLEASE quit the habit of overusing commercial mouthwash as this may end up creating unintended dental or health issues.

Pros & Cons

Let’s face it…bacteria is part of our saliva and it can be smelly as it naturally grows in the mouth after eating meals, especially if you’re not removing it properly. Our oral microbiome includes 700 different bacteria both good and bad. Therapeutic mouthwashes that contain antimicrobials, such as essential oils, can help to eliminate residual odors, aka, volatile sulfur compounds, that cause bad breath in the first place. Mouthwash, when used along with regular brushing and flossing, can help flush away the bacteria that cause gum disease.  Colloidal silver is really the best medium for a mouthwash because not only does it reduce acid, but it kills only the bad bugs, not the good.

Please note that your coffee breath will not be cured by mouthwash alone. Most bad breath is really caused by the bacteria on the tongue so using a tongue scraper daily is very important as well.  Using a mouthwash alone to try and cover up foul breath is really not going to work unless you remove the root cause.  Brushing and flossing on a regular basis, eating a nutritious diet and avoiding things that are acidic are the primary ways to ensure good dental health. Furthermore, cosmetic mouthwashes may only provide a transient increase in freshness, so look for a non-alcohol-based mouthwash. Choose an alcohol-free recipe if you suffer from dry mouth. Otherwise, mouthwash may inhibit saliva production and increase dryness, making your dental health worse. For sensitive areas and open wounds, absolutely avoid anything alcohol based. My best advice is to choose a mouthwash that contains natural ingredients and try adding dry-mouth lozenges, xylitol based gum, barley grass or Basic Bites to help increase salivary flow.


Choose a mouthwash that is alcohol-free. Simply Silver Mouthwash is a safe and effective alternative because it’s made of 100% natural ingredients. A dry mouth can be avoided by staying away from alcohol based products but sometimes it is a side effect of certain medications. Hydroxyapatite strengthens enamel and helps to desensitize teeth so it's an excellent addition to your oral health care regimen. Colloidal silver, coconut oil, trace minerals and essential oils are also helpful in protecting your teeth from tooth decay. Throughout the day, use mouthwash but I would recommend you brush your teeth FIRST thing in the morning, then if you don’t have time to wait the 30 minutes after eating to brush, you can just rinse with mouthwash.


If you want to get rid of plaque, don't think that using a mouthwash alone is going to cut it. This can only be accomplished by brushing, flossing, using a waterpik to clean in between your teeth and underneath your gums and seeing a dentist regularly.  Mouthwash is designed to supplement, not replace, your oral hygiene practices.

After using mouthwash, do not rinse with water since you will be washing away all of the helpful ingredients before they have a chance to act. Don't use too much mouthwash. It's more than enough to use it twice a day. Overuse of mouthwash might disrupt your oral bacteria balance, causing more harm than good. It may simply mask bad breath, but long term, you can’t out run gum disease. Plus, cosmetic mouthwashes may only provide a temporary increase in freshness, so be sure to find a decent non-alcohol-based mouthwash like Simply Silver Mouthwash.  SSM is an alcohol-free, chemical free and toxin free formula.  Our spearmint line with nano hydroxyapatite is specifically formulated with sensitive or dry mouths in mind. Because fluoride can be hazardous if swallowed, oral rinses should never be consumed, and they should never be given to children under the age of six.


If you see new mouth ulcers or stains on your teeth, STOP using the mouthwash. If this happens soon after you start using the mouthwash, it's a good indication that this mouthwash isn't suited for you. Make sure not to let mouthwash disguise any troubles you're having instead of addressing the root of the problem. Please don’t avoid the dentist. No mouthwash in the world is going to solve all of your dental issues but Simply Silver Mouthwash is an alternative brand that offers chemical-free mouthwashes made entirely of natural ingredients. Our alcohol-free mouthwashes are gentler on your tongue, mouth, and gums. Our motto is Ditch the Toxins so see what Simply Silver Mouthwash can do

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1 comment

Nice article! I was wondering if you could clarify something for me. I’ve been researching the benefits of nanohydroxyapetite and love using your spearmint mouth wash and I’m interested in the toothpaste too!I read though that glycerin, or in this case coconut oil, coats the teeth and prevents the nanohydroxyapetite from actually getting on the teeth. Any thoughts? I’ve only found 2 toothpaste brands without glycerin and they’re expensive.


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