Patients ask, “What mouthwash is best to use?” Well, they aren’t all the same. Listerine is a proven plaque-killing agent, but it only reaches the broad surfaces of the teeth. If you brush your teeth, you can remove the plaque that Listerine can reach, so why use it?
All the other mouth rinses like Crest Gum Care have not proven that their products are effective, so don’t use them. Act is a fluoride rinse- Not a mouthwash. There is a prescription mouth rinse called Peridex. It kills plaque bacteria over an 8-12 hr. period, however, it causes the teeth to get a brown stain (if used for a longer period of time) which is difficult to remove, making it impractical.
Hydrogen peroxide, usually diluted 50:50 with water kills plaque bacteria too. But there is another rinse out there that is making a “splash”. Chlorine Dioxide is similar to hydrogen peroxide, in that it contains a chemically reactive oxidizing agent. You may have heard about the mouth rinses used to remove bad breath- they contain stabilized chlorine dioxide which is much weaker. Real Chlorine Dioxide (CD) requires two solutions to be mixed together in order to activate. The Chlorine (disinfectant) and the oxidation reaction kills bacteria more than twice as effectively as hydrogen peroxide. Dioxyrinse is the product we use. Although Peridex is the most effective agent, it is problematic because of staining. Because CD is so strong, it is about as effective as Peridex without side effects (don’t drink it!). It is significantly more effective than other mouth rinses, and used for those with chronic gum disease (also tooth decay). For patients who floss, but still see bleeding, we have seen improvement in gum tissues for those using the product. Another benefit is that bacteria cannot become resistant to it, as with antibiotics. CD has been around for a long time, with many applications. I expect we will see more CD products coming in the near future as people find out about it.
By Michael Acquista, DDS
June 8, 2023