Mouthwash. Should you use it? If so, what mouthwash should you be using? Is it as important as brushing and flossing?

Your questions will be answered here, as well as some interesting historical anecdotes!

1. One of the most popular mouthwash brands, Listerine, was named after Sir Joseph Lister, founder of the practice of antiseptic medicine. It was first formulated way back in 1879 by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert.

2. Although today Listerine is used for oral health and hygiene, it was originally a general household product known for its antiseptic properties. Over its lengthy history it was sold as a surgical disinfectant, a cure for dandruff, a floor cleaner, a hair tonic, a deodorant, and as a “beneficial remedy” for a variety of diseases.

3. Listerine became popular as a result of Lambert’s reinvention of bad breath as the medical condition “halitosis”. This sparked a number of social fears and it became widely used.

4. Using mouthwash (of any brand) is not as important as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, and it is not a replacement for doing so. It does not have the power to remove plaque and debris alone.

5. Pros of mouthwash: It can help strengthen enamel and prevent cavities, fight gum disease, and leave your breath fresh for longer than toothpaste.

6. Cons of mouthwash: It can make sensitive teeth more sensitive, and many dentists simply argue that it doesn’t have a huge effect on your oral health in most circumstances.