To Rinse or Not To Rinse

At Harry W. McCool, DDS, we strive to not only provide our patients with the dental services they need but also to educate them on what is best for the long-term wellbeing of their smiles. One common step that people take when caring for their dental health at home is to rinse their mouths out with water. While this is usually a good idea, in some cases it should be avoided. Our Lilburn, GA dentist office provides insight on when you should and should not rinse your mouth out with water below:

Saltwater Rinses

If you’ve undergone an invasive dental procedure, it is likely that your aftercare instructions included homemade saltwater rinses. Saltwater rinses are great for patients who are unable to brush and floss around an area that has recently undergone significant dental work that needs time to heal. For example, if a tooth has recently been extracted, patients should avoid brushing and flossing around the extraction site for the first few days. However, it is extremely important to keep your smile clean at all times. Instead of brushing or flossing, patients can gently swish saltwater around in their mouths to keep the area clean as it heals. Once the area is healed enough for you to brush and floss normally, you should resume your standard at-home oral hygiene routine. To make a homemade saltwater solution, simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a glass of lukewarm water.

After Midday Meals

Often, patients struggle to keep their smiles clean while on-the-go. When brushing and flossing are not as convenient to do, we recommend that patients rinse their mouths out with water after midday meals and snacks. This will help reduce the amount of food residue left behind on your smile in addition to freshening your breath. Chewing sugar-free gum is also a good method of dislodging any food particles stuck in the hard to reach areas of your smile. By taking these extra steps throughout the day, you may see an improvement to your overall dental health. The goal is to keep your mouth moist and free of food residue for the majority of your day. When you return home from work or school, always follow up with a thorough brushing and flossing session to restore your smile after a hard day’s work.

After Brushing or Flossing

Patients should avoid rinsing their mouths out with water after brushing or flossing. This is a common mistake that can reduce the effectiveness of your at-home oral hygiene routine. Many of us utilize dental products like toothpastes or mouthwashes that contain active ingredients to fight increased sensitivity, tooth decay development, and dental staining. These ingredients are meant to remain on your dental structures after your brush and floss for maximum effectiveness. If you rinse your mouth out with water immediately after using these products, you will be washing away all of the active ingredients that serve your smile. Our experienced dental professionals can offer more advice on how to maximize your oral hygiene efforts for the best results. If you are looking for a dentist office in Lilburn, GA, we welcome you to schedule an appointment today.


Harry W. McCool, DDS, PC
Lilburn, GA Dentist

645 Beaver Ruin Rd NW, Suite A
Lilburn, GA 30047

New Patients (770) 450-4407

Current Patients (770) 381-9320


Monday - Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Schedule Appointment