Mouthwash Isn’t a Toothbrush or Floss

Oh, the news – or what passes for news – that we almost missed while taking a break from blogging: Us Magazine‘s headline of Jessica Simpson saying,



“I just use Listerine – and sometimes I’ll use my sweater,” she claimed, bursting into laughter.

“I do brush every now and again, but my teeth are extremely powerful. Fine, maybe when I’m 60 I’ll all, ‘ow!'”

Presuming she even has her natural teeth at 60, which isn’t too likely, all things considered.

Simply put, mouthwash alone – let alone a sweater (?!) – isn’t enough to prevent caries (cavities) and gum disease, especially if your diet is poor. Swishing rinse around your mouth can’t remove the sticky biofilm (plaque) that clings to tooth enamel as brushing can. Nor can it remove biofilm from between the teeth and at the gumline as flossing can. While a product like Listerine may kill a fair number of the microbes that form the dental biofilm, those that remain will start recolonizing within a matter of hours.

The only other thing you’ve probably accomplished is covering up bad breath for a while.

At best, mouthwash can be a fine adjunct to brushing and flossing, whether used before (to wash away large food particles) or after (to rinse any remaining particles dislodged while brushing and flossing).

But not brushing? How unsexy and stereotypically dumb-blondish can you get?


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Published by The Verigin Dental Health Team

A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry

3 replies on “Mouthwash Isn’t a Toothbrush or Floss”

  1. I’m currently doing a baby thesis about oral hygiene practices and would love to have research literature regarding the relative efficacy of mouthwashing as compared to toothbrushing and/or flossing in reducing incidence of dental caries. Would you happen to be familiar with any studies remotely related to this? Thanks!! 🙂

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