Can You Put Mouthwash In a Water Flosser?


  • Some people use mouthwash or other substances in their floss instead of tap water.
  • Dentists say it won't hurt you to use mouthwash instead of water in your flosser, but unless you have cavities or periodontal disease, it won't help.
  • Other substances, such as hydrogen peroxide, can damage your water flosser.

As the name suggests, water flossers were originally designed to be used with water. These devices help remove food particles between your teeth and are ideal for hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.

Now, thanks to the popularity of TikTok, many people are adding other liquids to their floss, such as mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide.

Putting mouthwash in your dental floss isn't necessarily a bad idea. Experts say this is not necessary. “I generally recommend using warm water with water flossers,” Cleveland Clinic dentist Sasha Ross, MD, tells Verywell.

In some specific cases, using mouthwash with your water flosser may be helpful. “Use mouthwashes with antibacterial ingredients – if any of us need extra help, these may have some benefits [with] Tooth decay or periodontal disease,” Matthew Messina, DDS, assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, told Verywell.

Still, for most people, there aren't any clear benefits to using anything but water, Messina said.

He added that people with certain medical conditions should avoid mouthwash altogether as it could be harmful to them.

Why do people put mouthwash in their dental floss?

Experts say some TikTok users claim that putting mouthwash into their dental floss can effectively clean their teeth, and that doing so won't necessarily harm you or your device. (The company behind the popular water flosser Waterpik says it's possible to add mouthwash to their product.)

However, water can also serve the purpose. Tap water (or water for brushing teeth) will do. Ross says she recommends using warm water in case your teeth are sensitive to the cold. “I recommend starting with a lower setting, which may increase the pressure over time,” she adds.

If you have tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, you may want to consider trying a mouthwash along with your water flossing, says Messina. Antibacterial agents in some mouthwash products may help. If you can, talk to your dentist before trying this trend to see if it would be beneficial for you, he adds. “That's what dentists are for.” Messina says your dentist can help you decide which Mouthwash may help.

After using mouthwash in water flossing, you'll want to rinse it off with water, Ross says.

Messina said certain people should avoid using mouthwash in any way, including those with oral mucositis, a complication of radiation therapy that causes inflammation of the mouth.

Additionally, Messina says it's safest to stick to water when helping your child floss, since some mouthwash products contain alcohol. If your child is unable to spit out the mouthwash provided by the device, they may end up swallowing large amounts of alcohol, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems.

Hydrogen peroxide can damage your device

While not necessarily dangerous, putting hydrogen peroxide in dental floss won't do anything to your teeth, Messina says. This is because of what happens when hydrogen peroxide is exposed to oxygen—for example, when you open the bottle and pour it into your dental floss. “It breaks down when it comes in contact with air,” Messina explains. “It breaks down into water and oxygen very quickly, so there's not much benefit to using hydrogen peroxide in water flossing.”

It may also damage your device. “Many manufacturers do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide in their equipment because it can corrode and damage the equipment,” Ross said.

You should also avoid adding pure essential oils (such as tea tree oil), baking powder, iodine, salt or salt solutions to Waterpik products, the company says.

Who benefits from water flossing?

While flossing is helpful, it's not necessary. “Water flossing is an adjunct to good oral health care,” says Messina. “If someone is brushing and flossing well and doing a good job, they don't need to add anything to it.”

Ross said they can be helpful for people with certain health conditions that make it difficult to floss or otherwise clean their mouths, such as people with Parkinson's disease or people who use dental equipment.

“Water flossing is most beneficial for people with permanent bridges, missing teeth, gaps between teeth, dental implants, braces, manual dexterity issues, and those with permanent retainers glued to their teeth,” says Ross. “I Water flossers are also recommended for those who have difficulty flossing but find water flossing easier.”

Finally, if you like using mouthwash in conjunction with your flossing, there's no need to change your routine. However, experts say that if you run out of mouthwash and want to keep using your device, water can work just as well.

However, if water flossing (regardless of what’s in it) causes certain symptoms, you should stop using it: “If you experience increased pain, swelling, or bleeding after flossing, or if the floss feels too dirty, please contact dentists to evaluate or demonstrate how to use water flossers,” Ross said.

It's always a good idea to consult with your dentist before making any changes to your oral health habits, as they are familiar with your specific needs. “If people have questions, they need to get answers from their dentist,” because oral health advice isn't always universal, Messina said.

what does this mean to you

Compared to regular brushing and flossing, water flossing is not a critical step in caring for your teeth. However, some people may benefit from water flossing, such as people who have certain dental devices, such as permanent retainers. Unless you have cavities or periodontal disease, you don't need to put mouthwash in your floss; plain tap water will work just fine.

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