14:30 PM

Swish Away Dental Decay

By Dr. Linda Vidone, Dental Director of DentaQuest

Tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes and dental floss have long been considered the tools for keeping your pearly whites healthy and clean. But more often than not, many of us forget a key component in keeping our teeth in tip top shape: mouthrinse. Mouthrinse, also known as mouthwash, is a tool that has often been considered a cosmetic item, its purpose to freshen your breath and leave you with a clean feeling.

However, there is a new version of mouthwash currently on the market called the therapeuticmouthrinse. Therapeutic mouthrinse has two key components that separate it from other mouthwashes. It is composed of fluoride and antimicrobial agents which play a big role in keeping your chompers strong and healthy. The fluoride fights cavities and prevents decaying, and the anti-microbial agents help gingivitis and plaque to the curb.

Although it may seem like a do-it-all product, mouthrinse is not a substitute for flossing or brushing your teeth twice a day; however, it can be a useful addition to your daily oral hygiene routine.

You might be wondering what the difference is between cosmetic mouthrinse and therapeutic mouthrinse. Cosmetic mouthrinses may temporarily reduce or control bad breath; however, they do not reduced cavities, gingivitis or plaque. On the other hand, fluoride and antimicrobial agents in therapeutic mouthrinses may help reduce cavities, gingivitis, plaque and bad breath in children and adults of all ages.

By removing the plaque that is left behind after brushing and flossing, therapeutic mouthrinses helps prevent gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, and periodontitis, a type of advanced gum disease. This was seen in a recent study released by the Academy of General Dentistry, which found greater declines in both plaque and gingivitis among people using therapeutic germ-killing mouthrinse than among those using placebo mouthrinses.

Plaque declined 26 percent among those using the antiseptic mouthwash than among those using a placebo mouthrinse. Among testers whose teeth had plaque problems at the start of the study, 51 percent of those who cleaned with the antiseptic mouthrinse had less plaque at the end of the study compared to 12 percent of those who cleaned with the placebo mouthrinse. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of people using the antiseptic mouthrinse showed measurable improvement in gingivitis compared to only 30 percent of the others.

Interested? During your next exam, talk to your oral health professional about adding a mouthrinse to your daily routine. Happy Swishing!

Study Source: January/February issue of General Dentistry (www.agd.org/gdabstracts).