Oral health issues

The role of mouth rinse as part of a patient’s oral care routine

Within the context of mechanical plaque removal, there are a number of oral hygiene and health issues that the use of a mouth rinse can potentially help to address.

The use of an effective mouth rinse has proven ability to reduce plaque accumulation,1 with the ability to penetrate the biofilm an important factor in determining the efficacy of a particular product.2 Use of a mouth rinse has also been shown to kill the bacteria associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease.3

Read about the benefits of mouth rinse in addressing plaque or gum health. Or you may be interested in revising the science of chemotherapeutics and mouth rinses, from their chemical classification to the evidence base for their use as rinses

A common objection to the use of mouth rinses among dental professionals is the understandable concern that it reduces fluoride retention following brushing with a fluoridated dentifrice. This issue has been thoroughly investigated in a number of trials, and it has been shown that rinsing with a fluoridated mouth rinse does not lead to loss of fluoride versus brushing alone.4 See the data here

Enamel demineralisation has a number of causes, therefore its treatment will aim to target a number of factors. A ‘high fluoride’ mouth rinse can increase fluoride levels above those possible with brushing alone5, which may be of benefit in these patients. Likewise dentine hypersensitivity has a number of possible causes;6 mouth rinses that contain compounds that are proven to reduce sensitivity could be a valuable adjunct to treatment.6–8 Read more about dentine hypersensitivity here.

Mouth rinses may also have a role in tackling halitosis and can reduce calculus formation to keep teeth whiter.


  1. Sharma  NC et al. Adjunctive benefit of an essential oil containing mouthrinse in  reducing plaque and gingivitis in patients who brush and floss regularly. A  six-month study. J Am Dent Assoc 2004; 135: 496–504.
  2. Fine DH et al. Comparative antimicrobial activities of antiseptic mouthrinses against isogenic planktonic and biofilm forms of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. J Clin Periodont 2001; 28: 697–700.
  3. Fine DH et al. Effect of rinsing with an essential oil-containing mouthrinse on subgingival periodontopathogens. J Periodontol 2007; 78: 1935–1942.
  4. Duckworth RM et al. Effect of rinsing with mouthwashes after brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste on salivary fluoride concentration. Caries Res 2009; 43: 391–396.
  5. Duckworth RM et al. Effects of flossing and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash after brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste on salivary fluoride clearance. Caries Res 2009; 43: 387–390.
  6. Canadian Advisory Board on Dentin Hypersensitivity. Consensus-based recommendations for the diagnosis and management of dentin hypersensitivity. J Can Dent Assoc 2003; 69(4): 221–226.
  7. Walters PA. Dentinal hypersensitivity: a review. J Contemp Dent Pract 2005; 6(2): 107–117.
  8. West NX. The dentine hypersensitivity patient – a total management package. Int Dent J 2007; 57: 411–419.