New research published in the January/February 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), indicates that the use of a germ-killing mouthrinse in addition to regular toothbrushing can significantly reduce plaque and gingivitis, more so than brushing alone.
"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," says Christine A. Charles, RDH, BS, lead author of the study and director of Scientific and Professional Affairs, Global Consumer Healthcare Research and Development, Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products Worldwide. "Even with regular brushing and flossing, bacteria often are left behind."
The General Dentistry study found that using a germ-killing mouthrinse twice a day, in addition to regular brushing, can significantly reduce the occurrence of plaque, as well as gingivitis—the beginning stage of gum disease.
The six-month study included 139 adults with mild to moderate plaque and gingivitis who were separated into two groups. Members of the first group brushed their teeth and rinsed with a germ-killing mouthrinse twice daily; members of the second group brushed their teeth and rinsed with a placebo mouthrinse twice daily.
"Results show that the group using a germ-killing mouthrinse reduced its occurrence of plaque by up to 26.3 percent," says AGD Spokesperson Janice Pliszczak, DDS, MS, MBA, MAGD. "Furthermore, that same group showed a 20.4 percent reduction in gingivitis."
Additionally, following the six-month study, nearly 100 percent of participants using the germ-killing mouthrinse showed a reduction in gingivitis, while only 30 percent of the placebo group experienced similar results.
"The study demonstrates the oral health benefits of regular and consistent daily use of a germ-killing mouthrinse," says Ms. Charles.
"Most people brush their teeth for less than 1 minute, when, at the very least, they should be brushing for 2 minutes. Additionally, only 2 to 10 percent of people floss regularly and effectively," adds Dr. Pliszczak. "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."
Dr. Pliszczak notes that not all mouthrinses are formulated to kill germs—some are meant for anti-cavity or whitening purposes—so be sure to read product labels.