Boost Your Water Flosser with Mouthwash? Here's What Dentists Say
Water flossers are a popular dental hygiene tool that use a stream of water to clean teeth and gums. Some people wonder if adding mouthwash to the water reservoir can boost the cleaning and freshening power of these oral irrigator appliances.
But is it safe and effective to put mouthwash in a water flosser?
In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of using mouthwash in water flossers. We’ll also provide tips on how to do it properly if you choose to give it a try.
By considering the compatibility between mouthwash and water flosser brands, you can enhance your oral hygiene routine and enjoy the benefits of using mouthwash in your water flossing device.
|Water Flosser Brand||Compatible Mouthwash Types||Recommended Ratio||Cleaning Procedure|
|Waterpik||Standard mouthwash, antiseptic mouthwash, therapeutic mouth rinse||1:1 ratio of warm water and mouthwash||Thoroughly rinse the reservoir and internal components with warm water|
|Brand X||Standard mouthwash||1:2 ratio of warm water and mouthwash||Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the device|
|Brand Y||Antiseptic mouthwash||1:1 ratio of warm water and mouthwash||Use warm water to rinse the reservoir and components|
How Water Flossers Work
First, let’s look briefly at how oral irrigators work to understand why some wish to add mouthwash.
Water flossers use an electric pump or battery power to shoot a steady stream of water from the tip of the appliance. The pressure flushes away food particles, bacteria and plaque that lingers between teeth and below the gumline.
This deep cleaning action helps:
- Remove debris in hard-to-reach spots
- Improve gum health
- Prevent gingivitis and inflammation
- Reduce bad breath
Adding mouthwash may seem beneficial since many rinses contain antiseptic ingredients to kill germs, as well as fluoride to strengthen enamel.
Potential Benefits of Mouthwash in Water Flossers
There are a few theoretical benefits to adding mouthwash to the water reservoir of a flosser:
- Fresher breath - Mouthwashes containing mint, essential oils and other flavorings can help freshen breath as you floss.
- Greater bacterial reduction - The antiseptic ingredients in many mouthwashes may boost the cleaning action against plaque and bacteria.
- Enhanced gum health - Certain therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients to reduce gum inflammation and improve circulation.
- Cavity prevention - Mouthwashes with fluoride may strengthen enamel and help reduce cavities.
However, there is limited scientific data showing improved efficacy with mouthwash over plain water. More research is still needed.
Potential Drawbacks of Using Mouthwash
Despite the possible benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider when putting mouthwash in a water flosser:
- Messiness - The staining properties of mouthwashes can leave residue on fixtures and surfaces.
- Damage to appliances - Harsh ingredients in some formulas may degrade plastic tubing or internal components over time.
- Safety concerns - Accidentally swallowing mouthwash while water flossing raises toxicity risks.
- Unsuitable for daily use - Due to alcohol content, many mouthwashes should not be used more than twice daily.
- Unpleasant taste - The intense flavor and tingle of mouthwashes may be unpleasant when sprayed with force.
- Cost - Using mouthwash daily can become expensive compared to plain water.
- No proof of better results - Despite claims, there’s little evidence mouthwash enhances flossing efficacy.
Tips for Using Mouthwash in a Water Flosser
If you wish to try using mouthwash in your water flosser, here are some tips for doing it safely and effectively:
- Dilute it - Mix mouthwash half-and-half with water to reduce intensity and save costs.
- Choose alcohol-free - Alcohol-free formulas are gentler on appliances and safer if ingested.
- Use sparingly - Limit mouthwash flossing sessions to 1-2 times per week for freshening.
- Rinse thoroughly - Always rinse equipment with plain water after using a mouthwash blend.
- Watch for irritation - Discontinue use if you experience any gum sensitivity or irritation.
- Keep out of reach - Store mouthwash safely out of reach of children when not in use.
- Ask your dentist - Seek advice from your dentist on appropriate formulas and frequency.
Best Mouthwashes for Water Flossing
If you do wish to use mouthwash in your water flosser, these types are safest and most effective:
- Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash - Alcohol-free and ADA approved
- ACT Total Care Anticavity Fluoride Rinse - Contains fluoride for cavity protection
- Biotène Fresh Mint Antibacterial Mouthwash - Reduces bacteria and plaque to freshen breath
- Colgate Total Zero Alcohol Mouthwash - Alcohol-free formula kills germs for 12 hours
- Listerine Zero Gentle Mint Mouthwash - Alcohol-free Listerine with ADA acceptance
- CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash - Unflavored formula that's gentle on teeth
Avoid oil-containing formulas, strong peroxides, or very alcohol-heavy mouthwashes.
And remember - always follow manufacturer instructions for water flosser safe cleaning agents and mixtures.
Water Additives to Use With Caution
Aside from mouthwash, there are a few other additives people sometimes use in water flossers:
- Hydrogen peroxide - Helpful for whitening, but use very diluted concentrations only. Food grade is safest.
- Baking soda - Slightly abrasive so good for stain removal, but may be harsh on gums. Use occasionally.
- Salt - Can be useful for killing bacteria but may be overly drying with regular use.
- Essential oils - Flavorful but some oils like cinnamon can burn mucous membranes. Stay very diluted.
With any additive, remember to rinse your flosser system thoroughly with plain water afterwards.
The Bottom Line
While adding mouthwash to your water flosser may sound appealing, the benefits are uncertain and there are some safety factors to consider. The most universally recommended solution to use remains plain water.
For regular oral hygiene, use your water flosser as directed by the manufacturer with just water. Save any mouthwash or additive blends for the occasional freshening boost a few times per month at most.
And as always, check with your dentist to find out if using mouthwash or other enhancements in your water flosser is appropriate for your individual oral health needs. Maintaining good communication with your dental professional is key!
Can I put mouthwash in a water flosser?
Yes, it is possible to put mouthwash in a water flosser. While water is the recommended solution for most water flossers, there are certain types of mouthwashes that are safe and beneficial to use.
What are the benefits of using mouthwash in a water flosser?
Adding mouthwash to a water flosser can enhance your oral hygiene routine by freshening your breath, combating plaque build-up, removing food debris, preventing cavities, and fortifying the enamel of your teeth.
What types of mouthwashes are safe for use in water flossers?
Standard mouthwashes, antiseptic mouthwashes, and therapeutic mouth rinses can be used with water flossers, as long as they are rinsed with warm water and the reservoir is cleaned after each use.
How do I use mouthwash in a water flosser?
Follow the specific instructions for your device, generally using a 1:1 ratio of warm water and mouthwash. Fill the reservoir with this mixture and floss as usual, making sure to direct the stream of water between your teeth and along the gumline.
Can I use any brand of mouthwash in a water flosser?
Different water flosser brands may have specific recommendations regarding mouthwash use. It is advisable to consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer for information on mouthwash compatibility with your water flosser brand.