Plaque is a coating of bacteria that builds up on your teeth throughout the day and night. It can result in tooth decay, bad breath and gingivitis (bleeding gums) if not cleaned daily. If used alone, neither mouthwash nor toothpaste can effectively neutralize the negative effects of plaque.
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. Mouthwash alone will never be able to remove the plaque. If you still want to use a mouthwash, use an alcohol-free mouthwash with fluoride, but never use it as a replacement for brushing.
As simple as it sounds, the most effective way to prevent conditions like gum disease and tooth decay is to mechanically remove the plaque. And the best way to remove plaque is through regular and efficient brushing and flossing.
So, take care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing every day, using fluoride toothpaste. Mouthwash is optional, and should ideally include fluoride and no alcohol.