Swishing around a mouthwash or rinse, especially after you brush, helps flush away any remaining food remnants and offers an extra antimicrobial punch. But don't grab that electric-blue Listerine. Layliev says to steer clear of mouthwashes that contain alcohol, a common bacteria-zapping ingredient. "Alcohol is harmful to soft tissues like the gums and can increase your chances of soft-tissue cancers," he says. "It also dries out and weakens teeth."
Instead, go with a mouthwash that uses natural antimicrobials such as mints and plant essential oils and gum-soothing ingredients like aloe vera. Also choose a clear rinse, rather than a brightly colored concoction, which will stain teeth over time, says Layliev.