Article: Volume 43 Number 6 Page 536 - July/August 2016

  Dent Update 2016; 43: 536-544  Read article

Preventive Dentistry:  Mouthwashes: Do They Work and Should We Use Them? Part 1: Antiplaque Efficacy of Mouthwashes

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Abstract: This article will focus on the antiplaque efficacy of mouthwashes. An antiplaque agent inhibits the formation of plaque and also reduces gingivitis. There is good evidence that chlorhexidine digluconate, used in the correct concentrations, is the gold standard agent against which all others should be measured. It does, however, have some unwanted side-effects. One of the major problems for antiplaque mouthwashes is that they have a much reduced effect on established plaque within the oral environment. Although they can flow into the biofilm channels and kill bacteria in the superficial layers of dental plaque, they cannot penetrate the biomass and inhibit the pathogenic bacteria adjacent to the tooth surface and gingival margin. There is no evidence that they prevent the progression of periodontitis.

Clinical relevance: The evidence supporting the use of ‘over the counter’ antiplaque mouthwashes is evaluated. This provides guidance for dentists and dental care professionals of when it is appropriate to recommend mouthwash use to their patients.

Author notes: Penny Hodge, PhD, FDS RCS(Ed), Specialist Periodontist/Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JZ, UK.

Objective: To understand the evidence available to support the use of antiplaque mouthwashes in the treatment of patients.