Germ-Killing Mouthrinse May Fight Gum Disease, Study Finds

Mouthrinses aren’t just for improving your breath. They can also significantly reduce plaque and gingivitis – the first stage of gum disease, according to new research published in the journal General Dentistry.

“It’s simple – mouthrinses can reach nearly 100 percent of the mouth’s surfaces, while brushing focuses on the teeth, which make up only 25 percent of the mouth,” said lead author Christine A. Charles, a registered dental hygienist, in a news release from the Academy of General Dentistry. “Even with regular brushing and flossing, bacteria often are left behind.”

Using a germ-killing rinse reduced the occurrence of plaque by up to 26 percent, researchers found in the study of 139 adults. They also saw a 20 percent reduction in gingivitis.

“Most people brush their teeth for less than one minute, when, at the very least, they should be brushing for two minutes,” said Dr. Janice Pliszczak, spokeswoman for the Academy of General Dentistry. “Adding a germ-killing mouthrinse twice a day to your daily routine is another way to attack the germs that can cause significant oral health problems.”

Pliszczak also noted that not all mouthrinses are the same. Some aim to whiten teeth or fight cavities but may not kill germs.

Gingivitis, a reversible inflammation, can lead to gum disease if left untreated. Gum disease can cause bone loss. People who have diabetes are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and gum disease, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

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