Oral Rinses from the Art of Cosmetic Dentistry

Oral home care is actually germ warfare. We are fighting a battle to reduce the amount and complexity of bacteria in our mouths. These are the bacteria that cause decay, red and bleeding gums, and bone loss. Everyone knows that brushing and flossing reduce the amount of bacteria on and between the teeth, but the teeth are only 20% of the oral cavity. The other 80% is made of soft tissues like the cheeks and tongue. While you can mechanically remove plaque from the tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper that still leaves the cheeks and attached gingiva. An antimicrobial mouth rinse will effectively reduce the bacterial populations in these areas where mechanically removing plaque is impossible. The American Dental Association recommends using oral rinses that have received their seal of approval. That means they have been tested and proven effective and safe. Listerine, for example has received this seal. Are other rinses effective? If it contains fluoride it will kill bacteria and help to remineralize teeth, otherwise it can be effective only for masking breath odor. Generic products usually have most of the same ingredients as name brand products with slight variations in the amounts. They may be slightly less effective as their name brand counterpart, but they will work similarly. The use of any effective mouth rinse will help significantly increase you oral health.