Synonyms in a broader sense

Dental care, teeth cleaning, professional teeth cleaning, toothbrush, electric toothbrush, toothpaste, oral irrigator, mouthwash


Mouthwash is not a substitute for toothbrushes and toothpaste. But it is a useful addition to home oral and dental care. Rinsing with mouthwash after brushing your teeth also penetrates the hard-to-reach spaces between the teeth and removes food residues and loose residues of dental plaque / plaque.

Read more on the topic: dental care

An additional effect is the feeling of freshness due to the essential oils as additives. Mouthwash is offered either as a concentrate or as a ready-to-use solution (mouthwash). Mouthwash can also be used as a liquid for the oral irrigator. Meridol mouthwash or Listerine mouthwash are examples of different mouthwash providers.

Read more on the topic: Oral hygiene


All mouthwashes contain ethanol, an alcohol in often very high concentrations. Therefore, "dry" alcoholics are not allowed to use mouthwash, otherwise relapse may result. The alcohol causes the essential oils to dissolve in water. The other ingredients are very diverse. The medical mouthwash or mouth rinse contains mainly antibacterial substances such as chlorhexidine (which is also often used in toothpaste) or cetylpyridinium chloride as antiseptics. Fluoride as an ingredient is also used as a prophylaxis against tooth decay and to strengthen tooth enamel. An example of the composition of a mouthwash concentrate for fresh breath:

  1. Ethanol (94.7%) 80.00%
  2. Sodium cyclamate 0.15%
  3. Flavor 3.50%
  4. Water, desalinated 16.34%
  5. Dye 0.01%


The mouthwash was originally intended as a prophylactic against tooth decay when a pharmacist Lingner in Dresden brought the first mouthwash onto the market. However, a mouthwash cannot meet this requirement. Instead, it only serves to intensify the cleaning effect and prevent the formation of new plaque. It can also help against plaque on the tongue and gives a fresh breath and thus works well against bad breath.Medical mouthwashes are a therapeutic agent for inflammation of the mouth and anterior throat. In difficult oral hygiene conditions such as fracture splints or intensive care of the physically or mentally handicapped, they take the place of mechanical cleaning. However, this is of course only a makeshift solution and does not replace actual dental care.

Does mouthwash make sense?

For this, the terms mouthwash and mouthwash must be clearly distinguished. A cosmetic mouthwash consists only of essential oils and cannot alleviate bacterial infestation in the oral cavity. It covers unpleasant smells with scents and briefly ensures fresh breath. Mouth rinses, on the other hand, are medical devices that fight bacteria in the oral cavity and cure diseases. These are prescribed by a dentist and are to be regarded as useful, while mouthwash tends to play a superfluous role.

Who Needs Antibacterial Mouthwash?

Antibacterial mouthwashes are one of the medical mouthwashes that differ from purely cosmetic mouthwashes. Medical rinsing solutions are used specifically for bacterial complaints in the oral cavity, such as inflammation and halitosis (bad breath), while cosmetic products only ensure fresh breath and usually only cover unpleasant odors. High-dose antibacterial products are usually prescribed by the dentist, are only available in pharmacies and should only be used for a certain period of time.

The period is usually two weeks and should not be exceeded. Since most manufacturers of mouthwash advertise an antibacterial effect and this term is not protected, great attention should be paid to the content of the solutions and consultation with the treating dentist should be held, so that not only a mouthwash solution is used that only covers odors, but also fights bacteria.

Mouthwash for gingivitis

A cosmetic mouthwash is powerless against gingivitis and only whitewashes unpleasant odors. In the case of manifested gingivitis, only a medicated mouthwash can help cure the gingivitis. The dentist orders a mouth rinse solution such as chlorhexidine or similar for two weeks, which are only available in pharmacies due to their high concentration.

Read more on the topic: Gingivitis, Parodontax® mouthwash

Can you use mouthwash during pregnancy?

Mouthwashes are generally allowed during pregnancy, but care should be taken to ensure that they do not contain any alcohol, as traces of alcohol could reach the unborn child in the stomach.

Can you use mouthwash against nail fungus?

The nail fungus is an annoying appendage that takes a long healing time. It is not uncommon for those affected to experiment and use home remedies to fight the nail fungus. Mouthwashes cannot cure nail fungus because they only consist of essential oils and have no bactericidal effect.

Mouth rinsing solutions containing alcohol such as Listerine® can be used against nail fungus and can have a positive effect. The alcohol disinfects and kills the fungus. Users say that the feet feel cleaner and itching has completely disappeared. The healing process is also accelerated and unpleasant odors prevented.

A daily foot bath lasting around 15-20 minutes should be taken for the application. After the application, the feet are rinsed with water. Although there are no scientific studies on the effectiveness against nail fungus, the mouthwash solution cannot harm the feet, which is why it can be used without hesitation.

Can mouthwash be used against athlete's foot?

As with nail fungus, cosmetic mouthwash is absolutely powerless, while a mouthwash solution can help fight athlete's foot. Again, there are no studies, but a few experience reports from users with Listerine®, who were able to achieve a positive and faster resolution of the fungal disease after regular footbaths. Here again, the mouthwash solution cannot cause any damage and it can therefore be used without hesitation. Nevertheless, it also applies here that there is no guarantee that the therapy will be successful and that drug therapy must be carried out without this

Dosage forms

Mouthwash is available either as a concentrate or as a mouthwash in a ready-to-use solution. A few drops in a glass of water are sufficient for the concentrate. The ready-to-use solutions can be used undiluted.

Mouthwash without fluoride

There are mouthwashes with and without fluoride content that are available on the free market or in pharmacies. In dentistry, fluoride is indispensable, while naturopathy considers fluoride to be controversial, as excessive fluoride consumption can be harmful. If too many fluorides are taken in regularly, fluorosis can occur, which manifests itself in damage to the skeleton, teeth, lung function, skin and metabolic disorders.

However, the harmful amount cannot be reached with normal use of mouthwash and toothpaste, but would have to be consumed in excess. Therefore, do not worry if a mouthwash with fluoride is used. Mouthwash without fluoride is primarily intended for the population group who cannot tolerate fluoride or who are allergic to it.

Mouthwash without alcohol

In general, it makes sense to avoid alcohol in the mouthwash solution, as alcohol has a disinfecting effect, but has a negative effect on the oral flora in the long term and is therefore not recommended for long-term use. The alcohol eliminates bacteria, but does not differentiate whether the bacteria are harmful and cause discomfort or belong to the bacteria that support the healthy oral flora.

Because bacteria in the oral cavity are not always bad, no - there are some that are important for the oral flora and the environment. If the “good” bacteria are also eliminated, the pH value and the composition can change in such a way that the buffering effect of the saliva is no longer effective. The saliva is able to buffer acids and render them harmless, so to speak, to neutralize the mouth. If this effect disappears, the teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay and bacterial diseases and can cause long-term complaints.

Mouthwashes with alcohol are also not suitable for children and pregnant women. Furthermore, studies have shown that the alcohol content is not decisive for the effectiveness of the mouthwash, which is why it is always advisable to use an alternative without alcohol.


Every dental practice can no longer be imagined without chlorhexidine, as its active ingredient chlorhexidine digluconate has been shown to improve oral health and cure diseases of the oral cavity. In general, it can be said that any inflammatory process caused by bacteria in the mouth and throat can also be cured by chlorhexidine, as the active ingredient kills the bacterial cells. The active ingredient is therefore bactericidal and also helps to fight tonsillitis and strep throat. A mouthwash solution that contains chlohexidine gluconate is Chlorhexamed forte®

Read more on the topic: Chlorhexamed forte® or Betaisodona oral antiseptic

These also include soft tissue diseases such as gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that statistically every second German has suffered at least once. With inflammation of the gums, the gums swell, bleed when touched lightly, and are red. If the inflammation affects not only the gums, but also the gums that support the teeth, one speaks of periodontitis, which is also an indication for the use of chlorhexidine.

Read more on the topic: Gingivitis

The bactericidal effect kills bacteria, primarily the caries-causing bacterium Streptococcus mutans. Therefore, chlorhexidine digluconate can promote oral health and, as a support for brushing teeth, lead to fewer caries diseases. There are special low-dose solutions that can be used daily (0.05%); in the case of inflammatory diseases, a higher-dose solution with a content of 0.2% is used for a limited period of a maximum of two weeks. Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is also completely harmless.

Read more on the topic: Periodontal disease


The Listerine® mouth rinse solution has some products that support the daily cleaning of the oral cavity and teeth, as brushing your teeth alone is not enough. In particular, areas that the toothbrush does not clean, such as the tongue and throat, are areas where bacteria stick and cause inflammation or unpleasant bad breath. Listerine® can help against this. According to the manufacturer, a cap with Listerine® should be used twice a day after brushing your teeth, so that you can rinse your mouth for thirty seconds.

However, the intense taste takes getting used to, which is why the solution can only stay in the mouth for ten seconds for the first few days. The ten seconds are then lengthened bit by bit, provided the user is used to the solution.

Mouthwash against bad breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common problem that is unpleasant for users and the environment. In 80-90% of cases, the problem lies in the oral cavity or the throat. However, since there are numerous causes for the unpleasant odor development, a mouthwash cannot always provide relief. The mouthwash, in combination with regular tongue cleaning with a tongue cleaner, helps to eliminate odors caused by increased bacterial growth on the soft tissues.

In the case of bad breath due to other causes, such as dental diseases, inflammation of the gums or gingivitis, only systematic therapy by the dentist can help to eliminate the odor. In these cases, a tongue cleaning and the mouthwash only help for a short time for fresh breath, but the unpleasant smell remains. Care should be taken to use an antibacterial mouth rinse and a preparation with the active ingredient chlorhexidine digluconate is also advisable. If the symptoms persist, you should consult the dentist to find out the cause of the bad breath.

Read more on the topic: Treatment of bad breath

Mouthwash with tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has been known for thousands of years because of its immune-strengthening, anti-infection and antibacterial properties and, as a home remedy, also helps with bacterial complaints in the oral cavity. For daily use, 3 drops of tea tree oil are added to 250 ml of water and rinsed with it for about thirty seconds. Because of the intense taste, subsequent rinsing with water is advisable. Tea tree oil should not be used for known allergies and hypersensitivities to essential oils. A consultation with the treating dentist is always advisable.

Does mouthwash replace daily brushing?

Mouthwash is not enough to clean the teeth and replace the toothbrush as it cannot remove the plaque adhering to the teeth. The mouthwash also cannot rinse out any leftover food between the teeth. Therefore, regular cleaning of your teeth with toothpaste and toothbrushes is essential.

Side effects

Side effects from taking mouthwash are not to be expected. Although essential oils and alcohol are also effective against bacteria, no negative effects on the oral flora have been observed. However, mouthwash should not be swallowed. Medical mouthwashes can cause harmless discoloration of the teeth (see also: white teeth) and the tongue, but they can be removed. In rare cases, taste disturbances occur, but these disappear again after discontinuation.

What happens if mouthwash is swallowed?

Most mouthwashes explicitly state that swallowing the solution should not happen, which is a cause for concern in the event of mishaps that do. With small sips that have been accidentally drunk, worries are unfounded. The user may have to expect that he could feel sick. It is advisable to rinse with a large amount of water to stimulate digestion and to dilute the mouthwash. Concerning consequences such as damage to the gastrointestinal tract are not to be expected


Mouthwash does not replace teeth cleaning with toothbrushes and toothpaste, it is only a supplement for oral hygiene and gives fresh breath. It is available on the market either as a concentrate or as a ready-to-use solution for mouthwash. Most mouthwashes and mouthwashes contain alcohol in very high concentrations and are therefore not suitable for former alcoholics. Ready-to-use mouthwashes can stain your teeth and tongue. They are harmless and can be removed again. This also applies to taste disorders.