Mouthwash or mouth rinse is a product used to enhance oral hygiene. Some manufacturers of mouthwash claim that antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinse kill the bacterial plaque causing cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Anti-cavity mouth rinse uses fluoride to protect against tooth decay. It is, however, generally agreed that the use of mouthwash does not eliminate the need for both brushing and flossing. As per the American Dental Association, regular brushing and proper flossing are enough in most cases although the ADA has placed its Seal of Approval on many mouthwashes containing alcohol (in addition to regular dental check-ups).
Common use involves rinsing the mouth with about 20ml (2/3 fl oz) of mouthwash two times a day after brushing. The wash is typically swished or gargled for about half a minute and then spat out. In some brands, the expectorate is stained, so that one can see the bacteria and debris. Some may suggest that it is probably advisable to use mouthwash at least an hour after brushing with toothpaste when the toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate, since the anionic compounds in the SLS toothpaste can deactivate cationic agents present in the mouthrinse. However, many would disagree with this hypothesis; in fact, many of the popular mouthwashes contain sodium lauryl sulfate as an ingredient.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a new prescription treatment for gingivitis, a common gum disease that affects most adults at some point in their lives. The Decapinol Oral Rinse treats gingivitis by reducing the number of bacteria that attach to tooth surfaces and cause dental plaque. Decapinol is approved for use in persons 12 years of age or older when routine oral hygiene is not adequate to prevent gingivitis. Decapinol is not recommended for use by pregnant women.
"This new dental rinse helps treat gingivitis when tooth brushing and flossing are not enough," said Dr. Daniel Schultz, Director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "This product can lead to a substantial reduction in gingivitis."
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that often appears as swollen, red, or bleeding gums. Scientists believe plaque-forming bacteria that live in the mouth and on tooth surfaces are a cause of gingivitis. Substances released by the bacteria cause the gum inflammation. Reduction of plaque bacteria can decrease the inflammatory substances and cause a reduction in gingivitis.
Decapinol Oral Rinse is being regulated as a medical device and not as a drug because its primary mode of action is to create a physical barrier, rather than to act chemically. Decapinol contains a substance called a surfactant that acts as a physical barrier, making it harder for bacteria to stick to tooth surfaces. FDA also has approved a number of other anti-gingivitis oral rinses, but since these products act chemically to kill bacteria that live in the mouth, they are regulated as antimicrobial drugs rather than as devices.