Question

Healthy Oral Hygiene

Can I use Listerine instead of brushing my teeth before bed?

A Answers (6)

  • ADe Vizio, DMD, Dentistry, answered on behalf of Colgate
    Mouthwash is used to keep your breath smelling fresh and it is not an effective substitute for brushing your teeth at night. While some mouthwashes have added fluoride to fight cavities they do not work as well as daily brushing and flossing of your teeth, which removes food particles and plaque that can lead to tooth decay.
  • Mouthrinses and mouthwashes are not intended to replace tooth brushing. It is important to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. One of those times should be before going to bed to remove all food particles from teeth and prevent the length of attacks by food on teeth. Using a rinse after brushing can help freshen breath and prevent tooth decay.

  • AWilliam M. Litaker, Dentistry, answered

    No rinse, including Listerine, takes the place of brushing and flossing your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth called plaque sticks to the teeth. It can only be removed physically or mechanically. This is done by brushing and flossing.

  • AThomas Connelly, Dentistry, answered

    Well, you CAN (nobody is going to stop you), but it's not an effective replacement.

    Now, if you lose your toothbrush one night, yes, do this instead of nothing. And then buy a new toothbrush tomorrow. But aside from a one-night emergency, why would anyone want to do this? Using any mouthwash is nowhere near as effective as brushing and flossing. Further, most OTC mouthwashes contain alcohol, which will dry out your mouth (and your mouth already gets dry at night - we need not help it along). Alcohol is also linked to oral cancer.

    It takes less than five minutes to brush and floss, folks. It's time well spent, and not something anyone should be looking for a shortcut for.

  • ADante Gonzales, DMD, Dentistry, answered
    Listerine, as well as many other mouthwashes, are most effective after physically removing the plaque from the teeth and gums by brushing and flossing. It is the accumulation of plaque that causes cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Plaque, the bacterial buildup on the teeth and gums, is very sticky and adheres to the teeth. It can be removed very easily with good brushing and flossing, however, a mouthwash will not remove plaque. It may temporarily make your mouth feel cleaner and your breath fresher, but that will be very shortlived without proper brushing and flossing.
  • AJung Song, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    No. I would like to make an analogy of washing your car. You need to PHYSICALLY scrub dirt " biofilm" in order to remove the dirt. You would not just spray water....

    The reason why we recommend that you brush is to remove "bioflim"- thin layer of bacteria and debris that is found on the teeth - kind of like in bathroom sink if you don't clean it. 

    Hope this helps!

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