What dental mouthwash (or mouth rinse) is right for you?
Dental mouthwash has been around for thousands of years. The first ones were essential oils, brandy, vinegar, and urine. Today there are two main types of mouthwashes. Those that are therapeutic in nature and those that are cosmetic.
What dental mouthwash should you use?
Well it depends if you have a problem with cavities, gum disease, or bad breath.
Dental mouthwashes for gum disease or gingivitis.
Unfortunately, mouth rinses do not go very deep under the gum lines, which limits their effect on periodontal disease. However, they can be effective at treating gingivitis. There are 5 major active ingredients in mouthwashes for gum disease.
- Chlorhexidine gluconate .12%
- Essential oils
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Chlorine dioxide
- Cetylpyridinium chloride
Chlorhexidine gluconate mouth rinses include Peridex, Periogard, and GUM Paroex. The benefit of Chlorhexidine is that it works for hours after you swish and we commonly use it after any mouth surgery. The most common mouthwash, Listerine, contains essential oils. Another essential oil mouth rinse is Tooth and Gums Tonic. Peroxyl is the only major hydrogen peroxide rinse. Closys and OraCare are the major chlorine dioxide mouth wash. Crest Pro Health and a couple Colgate brands have CPC.
New generations of dental mouth washes for gingivitis
The two newer categories of mouth washes are those with hyaluronic acid and those with antioxidant properties. Gengigel is a hyaluronic acid mouthwash and AO ProRinse is an antioxidant rinse.
Dental mouth wash for bad breath
We cover bad breath in another post. However, the same rinses as above are the ones best for bad breath.
Mouthrinses for those prone to cavities
For those that have issues with decay (cavities) then we want to maximize the amount of time fluoride is on your teeth. So rinsing with water after brushing with fluoride toothpaste can reduce the benefit of fluoride toothpaste. You can use a mouth rinse containing fluoride after brushing with fluoride toothpaste. Alternatively, you can use non-fluoride rinses before brushing or at a different time to brushing with fluoride toothpaste. There are 3 anti-caries types of mouth rinses.
- Sodium fluoride
- Stannuos fluoride
Sodium fluoride rinses are the most common and include X-Pur Opti-rinse, CariFree CTx4 Treatment Rinse, Crest Pro-health Complete, and Listerine Total Care. PerioMed Stannuos Fluoride rinse obviously has stannuos fluoride. CariFree rinses have nanohydroxyapatite and are most helpful for those with dry mouth and decay.
What dental mouth rinse is best for those with a dry mouth?
We go more into dry mouth treatments on another page.
When should you use a dental mouthwash?
You can use your mouthwash either before or after without much difference UNLESS there is a benefit to your toothpaste that your mouthwash is lacking. For instance, using a fluoride toothpaste and then rinsing with a non-fluoride mouthwash, eliminates a lot of the effectiveness of the the fluoride toothpaste. If you are using a fluoride toothpaste and then use a non-fluoride mouthwash, then the benefits from the fluoride toothpaste are being washed away. Sources
What dental rinse should children at high risk of caries use?
Do not use mouth rinses before the age of 6 years. Any rinsing should be under adult supervision until an age where parents/carers are confident that children will not drink the rinse. Use 10 ml twice daily of mouth rinse up to 100 ppm fluoride, or 10 ml once daily of mouth rinse up to 226 ppm fluoride1
Research on dental mouth washes
Meta-analysis Gunsolley JADA Dec 2006
The largest body of studies (21 studies) support the efficacy of mouthrinses with essential oils. A smaller body of studies (seven) support a strong antiplaque, antigingivitis effect of mouthrinses with 0.12 percent chlorhexidine. Results for mouthrinses with cetylpyridinium chloride vary.
Alcohol dental mouthwashes may increase chances of cancer Wilson EBD 2016
Preprocedural mouth rinse for reduction of microorganisms in aerosol
Studies show that mouth rinses with chlorhexidine, essential oils, and cetylpyridinium chloride all reduce microbial aerosol levels. Marui JADA 2019