How Do I Choose the Best Mouthwash for Gum Disease?

A woman with healthy gums.
A mouthwash for gum disease.
Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A regular oral hygiene regimen that includes rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash is the best way to prevent gum disease. The best mouthwash for gum disease is one that has antiseptic properties, especially those that contain alcohol or those available by prescription. Some mouthwashes contain ingredients for prevention of cavities, whitening and mask odors, but without an ingredient to kill bacteria, the effects of mouthwash for treating gum disease would be very small.

Though antimicrobial mouthwash is best for gum disease, some people can’t tolerate the strong flavor or burning sensation that may occur with use. If this is the case, a mouthwash containing cetylpyridinium do have an antimicrobial effect, even if less effective than alcohol. In severe cases, a prescription strength mouthwash may be required. When it comes to choosing mouthwash for gum disease prevention, only adults should use mouthwash containing alcohol as these products tend to be too strong-tasting for children and pose some risk if accidentally ingested.


While the antiseptic properties of mouthwash are essential for prevention of gum disease, proper use of mouthwash is also important. Most mouthwash is more effective if use is delayed at least 30 minutes after brushing since some ingredients common in toothpastes may cause the active ingredients in mouthwash to be ineffective. This is especially true of prescription strength mouthwash for gum disease. To achieve the best effects from oral hygiene efforts, brush twice a day and rinse for one minute with mouthwash at least 30 minutes after one of the brushings. If your dentist or doctor provides you with a prescription mouthwash, follow the instructions for use provided by the pharmacist.

Other methods of preventing or controlling gum disease include thorough and proper brushing twice each day. Avoid toothpastes that contain harsh abrasives and toothbrushes with bristles that irritate the gums. Flossing between teeth at least once each day can also reduce gum disease by eliminating plaque where brush bristles do not reach. Reducing sugar intake is also an effective means of prevention. Prevention of gum disease is far easier than treating gum disease, so adopting a regular oral hygiene routine that includes regular use of mouthwash for gum disease prevention is beneficial. Moderate to severe gum disease that is marked by red, swollen, inflamed gums and bleeding when brushing should be evaluated by a dentist.


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