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It’d be nice to swish around a minty liquid in your mouth and avoid the hassle of flossing. But can mouthwash have the same impact of flossing on your teeth? The short answer is no. Mouthwash is recommended and can benefit your oral hygiene, but flossing is crucial to good health.

Because flossing is needed to scrape any debris caught in your teeth out, it cannot be replaced by mouthwash.

Mouthwash can leave your mouth feeling fresh, but floss will more effectively remove plaque and food from your teeth, leaving your mouth in a healthier condition and less prone to the dangers of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. For maximal oral healthcare, use both floss and mouthwash.

What Mouthwash Does

Though it cannot replace flossing, mouthwash does have its benefits. For example, most mouthwashes contain fluoride, which helps to strengthen and protect your teeth. Because of the fluoride, it’s recommended that you do not rinse with water after rinsing with mouthwash. It can also reduce potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth, which will keep you safe from cavities and odorous breath. Mouthwash cannot replace brushing and flossing but can be a great addition to them.

What Flossing Does

Flossing dislodges food and scrapes away built-up plague from your teeth. To penetrate the gaps in your teeth, flossing is necessary. Without it, built up food and plaque can lead to tooth decay. Neglecting to floss can also lead to gum disease. It is recommended that you floss daily, preferably after you are finished eating for the day and before you brush your teeth for the night.