For a long time now, it has been recommended to brush and floss to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing alone may not be enough for many patients. The
addition of an oral rinse can offer unique benefits that brushing and flossing are unable to achieve. Some of the oral rinses on the market can be used to treat gingivitis, assist in the remineralization of teeth, treat dry mouth, as well as help whiten our teeth. The main advantage of an oral rinse is its ability to reach all areas of the mouth, between teeth, and under the tongue. This gives it the ability to reach bacteria that normal brushing and flossing may not.
Types Of Oral Rinses
There are many different kinds of oral rinses available in stores today they generally fall into two categories:
Cosmetic Oral Rinses.
This type of rinse is used for purely cosmetic reasons including temporarily masking bad breath or teeth whitening agents to lighten color of teeth. These usually have antibacterial properties as well as anti cavity protection but not very potent in those areas. Cosmetic rinses are commercial, over the counter products that help remove oral debris before or after brushing, temporarily suppress bad breath, diminish bacteria in the mouth, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste, like mint.
Cosmetic oral rinses reduce mouth odors, or halitosis. Some do kill bacteria for a short time, but there is no lasting health impact that you could ascribe to them. The bacteria killed by these types of mouth rinses will grow back eventually, and while you’ll have fresh and minty breath in the short-term, these rinses don’t actually improve your oral health.
Therapeutic Oral Rinses.
This type of rinse is meant to fix a persistent oral issue such as gingivitis. Therapeutic rinses have all of the benefits of cosmetic rinses but also contain an added active ingredient that helps protect against some oral diseases. Therapeutic oral rinses are effective in two ways.
One is to simply attack bacteria by stop it from reproducing or to kill it. The other newer way is to hinder the bacteria’s ability to attach itself to oral surfaces. If the bacteria cannot attach itself to any oral surfaces plaque cannot form.
Dentists will prescribe special rinses for patients with the following issues:
1. Tooth Decay
3. Gingival Inflammation
4. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia).
Therapeutic rinses also are highly recommended for those who cannot brush due to physical impairments or medical reasons. A good example is Chlorhexidine which is a very common oral rinse used to treat periodontal disease. It is powerful because its effects last longer than some of the other mouth rinses.
Are There Oral Rinses For Children?
Oral rinses are especially effective for children since their dexterity and attention to detail is usually less than that of an adult. The oral rinses will ensure all areas of the mouth are reached. Oral rinses for children generally have no alcohol and most usually do not have fluoride. They can be antibacterial or they can be used for pre brushing staining of plaque areas.
Oral Rinses Conclusion
Mouth rinses do serve a purpose, whether to freshen your breath or help fight plaque and gingivitis. They can be a vital addition to any oral hygiene regimen. Remember they are not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. Those are still the main component of the at home oral hygiene program with oral rinses acting as a supplement.
Recent studies have shown that oral rinses can reduce plaque and the risk of gingivitis when used in addition to tooth brushing compared with tooth brushing alone. Whatever oral rinse you choose, be sure to follow the instructions and avoid swallowing. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings. Remember, when choosing a mouth rinse product, pick one that has the ADA seal of approval.