Dentists Are Giving the Okay to Cut This Staple Out of Your Teeth-Cleaning Routine

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When it comes to oral hygiene, it's pretty standard fare to rely on your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. (Add a tongue scraper and some oil pulling if you like to do things the Ayurvedic way.) The foursome has been the official cleaning crew for decades now. Well, it turns out one isn't all that needed.

Lance Vernon, DMD, who teaches at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine says swishing around a shot of mouthwash isn't nearly as important as brushing, flossing, and regular checkups. And actually, using mouthwash can backfire since many people assume it can work in place of brushing. (Spoiler alert: It can't.) Plus, holistic dentists have been sounding the alarm on alcohol-based swishes for a while, saying they are harsh and drying and in some cases can cause hypersensitivity. Dr. Vernon says brushing for five seconds works better than a mouth rinse, so point taken.

Evidently brushing for five seconds works better than mouthwash—so point taken.

"The plaque accumulates on the gum line, which can become inflamed and swollen," Dr. Vernon tells Apartment Therapy on why mouthwash doesn't work as well; it just doesn't get in there the same way a toothbrush and floss can.

That said, Dr. Vernon does say mouthwash is a good supplement to brushing (may we suggest a probiotic paste) and flossing. Mouthwash may be the weakest link, but it still does something.

Speaking of oral hygiene, here's why probiotics are popping up in your toothpaste. Or, you can make like Drake and brush with activated charcoal toothpaste.

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