A complete plan for daily dental hygiene is centered around twice-daily tooth brushing and flossing, but you may also want to consider oral rinses.
Oral rinses may contain a variety of ingredients to battle bacteria in the mouth, including cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), a germ-fighting ingredient which has been shown to be safe and effective, although a small number of people have reported a temporary unpleasant aftertaste.
Other oral rinse ingredients include povidone iodine and essential oils. But any oral rinse can help enhance your daily dental hygiene routine. In a recent study published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, 80 16-year-olds were randomized to use one of four mouthwashes for two weeks. Their gingival tissues were examined at the start and end of the study.
Overall, using a mouthwash with povidone iodine, essential oil, or chlorhexidine significantly reduced plaque and reduces bacterial indicators of gingivitis. A fourth mouthwash that contained an herbal extract did contribute to plaque control but the improvement was not significant.
Studies have shown that oral rinses can reduce more plaque and more signs of gingivitis when used in addition to tooth brushing compared with tooth brushing alone. Whatever oral rinse you choose, be sure to follow the instructions and avoid swallowing. And oral rinses are not recommended for very young children if they are at risk for swallowing the rinse rather than being able to spit it out.