Using mouthwash may seem redundant after brushing one's teeth, but a quick swish is an important part of daily dental care.
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that most people brush their teeth for less than one minute, although dentists advise their patients that tooth brushing should last two minutes. In addition, only between 2 and 10 percent of people are believed to floss their teeth properly and on a regular basis.
By including a mouthwash rinse in their dental regimen, people have a much greater chance of ridding their mouths of germs that can create oral health problems down the road. A study published in the journal General Dentistry states that mouthwash may reduce plaque build-up on teeth and gum disease more than brushing by itself.
A daily regimen of dental care at home should be supplemented by regular visits to the dentist, but many families have to cut down on check-ups before they have no dental insurance. As an alternative to paying costly premiums, discount dental plans can provide many dentistry services at reduced prices. Individual dental plans are available as well as those for families.
General Dentistry reported that rinsing twice a day with brushing can reduce plaque by 26 percent and gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease, by 20 percent.
"It's simple - mouth rinses 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 Christine Charles, R.D.H., an executive at Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products, who led the study.
The research team studied the dental hygiene habits of 139 adults over the course of six months. They found that half of the participants brushed, then rinsed with a germ-killing mouthwash while the second group brushed and used a placebo mouthwash.
When the study was completed, those who had been using the germ-fighting mouthwash experienced nearly 100 percent reduction in gingivitis. Those who rinsed with the placebo solution showed a 30 percent decrease in the gum disease.
While those figures are impressive, it's important for consumers to keep in mind that not all mouthwashes are created alike, said AGD spokeswoman Janice Pliszczak, D.D.S.
Just like different types of toothpaste, some rinsing solutions are intended to combat cavity development or to whiten teeth. Pliszczak encouraged people to read mouthwash labels carefully to ensure they are getting the right solution to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis.
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