The mouthwash is intended to protect against tooth decay and gum disease. But for whom does she really make sense?


Grandpa's mouthwash is experiencing a renaissance. But what used to only provide fresh breath, promises today also protection against tooth decay and gum disease: the Mundspülung, In addition to regular teeth cleaning and interdental cleaning, an antibacterial mouthwash can be a useful addition to daily dental care. Read here how a disinfectant mouthwash works, when its use makes sense and what distinguishes it from the mouthwash.

How does a mouthwash work?

Oral rinses are designed to loosen the plaque on the teeth and in the interdental spaces, kill germs and thus prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But on their own they are usually unable to do so. For effective prophylaxis, you should thoroughly clean your teeth and interdental spaces twice a day with toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and dental floss or interdental brush. These are the recommendations of central dental institutions. Mouthwashes can only supplement this basic care.

Further information on oral hygiene

How to brush your teeth properly and what benefits Fluoridated Toothpaste offers, read here: Brushing teeth properly and fluoride ├ó ÔéČ "" Harmful in toothpaste?

When does a mouthwash solution make sense?

However, many people are treating the interdental spaces in a petty manner. Therefore, caries and periodontitis-promoting deposits often persist. The reason for the sub-optimal cleaning of the gaps see experts in the wrong handling of dental floss or interdental brush: Some shy the not very simple application and therefore do not use these instruments or too rarely. Others do not consistently cleanse any gaps or injure the gums due to firm, jerky movements.

The harmful mouth bacteria then penetrate into the injured areas, causing more rapid inflammatory gum disease. But sometimes there is a lack of motor skills for proper use, for example, in old age or in physical or mental impairments.

In the meantime, dentists are frequently recommending mouthwashes. Although this is less effective than the mechanical cleaning of the gaps. Rinse twice a day for a minute or so with an antibacterial solution in addition to brushing your teeth, but it would be better to do without cleaning the interdental spaces altogether.

However, it is important to warn against excessive use of mouthwashes (more than three times a day): a Europe-wide study has suggested that this may increase the risk of cancer of the upper airway and food routes. The connections, however, must be examined more closely.

Mouthwash and mouthwash: what's the difference?

There are numerous liquid products for oral care available on the market. Before you decide on a remedy, you should know the differences:


Mouthwash is offered in concentrated form and diluted in clear water. The remedies have an effect on the breath and make it fresher for a short time thanks to various essences, such as peppermint or menthol. The causes of bad breath, which are usually in inflammatory diseases in the mouth, but they can not resolve. Only the transition to the dentist helps here.


Unlike mouthwash, the mouthwash is applied undiluted. It is not primarily intended to provide fresh breath, but to remove plaque and kill harmful germs. One distinguishes between caries-preventive, gum-care and medical mouthwash:

Caries Preventive Mouthwash
There are two types of mouthwashes, sometimes combined in one product: rinses that soften the plaque to make it easier to remove, and solutions with caries-reducing additives such as stannous fluoride or amine fluoride. The fluorides have been proven to loosen the plaque and inhibit its regeneration. In order to prevent caries, a mouthwash must contain at least 0.025 percent fluoride. It makes sense with:

  • exposed cogs,
  • Elderly or disabled patients who are unable to maintain proper oral hygiene themselves,
  • Patients after a periodontitis treatment,
  • Brackets (fixed orthodontic appliances) that make it impossible to mechanically clean the interdental spaces

Gingiva Mouthwash
These mouthwashes contain herbs and other ingredients that have a calming effect on inflammatory symptoms. However, they do not eliminate the inflammation itself. That's why mouthwashes are not the answer in the long run. For sensitive, bleeding and / or painful gums, you should consult your dentist immediately.

However, a gum-conditioning mouthwash is not completely ineffective:

  • The contained herbs stimulate the circulation of the gums and make it more resistant to bacterial infections
  • Herbs and other ingredients like allantoin or vitamin A soothe irritated areas

Allergy sufferers should check carefully before use if they can tolerate the contained ingredients.

Medical mouthwash
These products contain medically active ingredients, most commonly the germicidal chlorhexidine. In high-dose form (0.2 percent chlorhexidine) they are considered a chemical toothbrush that can temporarily replace the mechanical brushing teeth. From a dental perspective, a chlorhexidine mouthwash is the only mouthwash solution that effectively fights plaque bacteria.

For example, high-dose chlorhexidine rinses are used during periodontitis treatment. In addition, they are applied at short notice, for example:

  • After an operation to support the healing process
  • During a hospital stay, if careful oral hygiene is not possible
  • For patients with physical or mental disabilities who are overwhelmed by mechanical tooth cleaning

Chlorhexidine has prolonged use (more than six weeks), however, side effects:

  • Brownish discoloration on teeth and dentures
  • Disturbed taste sensation

The taste sensation normalizes after the end of the application. The discoloration can be removed by the dentist with a professional tooth cleaning.

For long-term use - for example, as a replacement for dental floss or interdental brush - dentists recommend low-dose chlorhexidine preparations. Mouthwashes with 0.06 percent chlorhexidine have been proven in studies. They should be used undiluted for around one minute in the morning and evening after eating and brushing your teeth. In doing so, one should especially intensively rinse the interdental spaces. Chlorhexidine mouthwashes are only available at the pharmacy.

Mouthwash without alcohol

Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, sometimes up to 30 percent. The alcohol disinfects and preserves the ingredients. For children there are fluoridated mouthwashes without alcohol that are just as effective. However, they should be used at the earliest from the age of six, if the children can reliably spit out, to avoid fluoride overdose with white spots on the teeth. With regard to alcoholic users, mouthwash and mouthwash without alcohol are now also being developed and offered for adults.

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    Dental Care: More than just brushing your teeth

    Millions of bacteria are in the mouth. While some help to digest the food, others are common beasts. They liven up the sugar and make it harmful acid. The result: caries and gingivitis. To prevent this, simply brushing your teeth is not enough. How to keep your teeth strong and healthy into old age, read here.

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    Circling is out

    "After eating, do not forget to brush your teeth!" Even if you follow this, tooth decay and periodontitis are at risk. The reason: many do not brush their teeth properly. Even if you have learned it as a child, circling is out. Today, dentists recommend loosening the plaque and then sweeping it down. To process outer and inner surfaces - from red (gums) to white (teeth). On the chewing surfaces you can simply scrub back and forth.

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    How often? When? How long?

    The recommendation is to scrub the biter at least twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. And right after the meal. Exception: If you have consumed a lot of acid, for example in the form of fruit, fruit juices or vinegar. Then: wait an hour before you start with the dental care. Because the acid weakens the protective layer of the teeth. Clean for exactly three minutes - longer does not bring more and increases the risk of injuring the gums.

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    Gaps with pitfalls

    But brushing teeth alone is not enough. With the brush you only get to two thirds of the tooth surface! Nevertheless, food particles can accumulate between the teeth and invite acid-forming bacteria to the feast. Therefore: Always clean the interdental spaces, using dental floss or interdental brushes. And before brushing your teeth - then the fluorides of the toothpaste can penetrate into the cleaned interstices and harden the enamel.

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    Renaissance of Grandpa's mouthwash

    Dentists recommend mouthwash more often. The reason: Many patients do not get the cleaning of the interdental spaces on the row. They injure the gums due to jerky movements or are fundamentally unable to handle floss sensitively. Rinsing with an antibacterial solution twice a day for about a minute is less effective than mechanical interdental care, but better than nothing.

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    Bacteria strong tongue

    So far, studies do not clearly prove that a tongue cleaning protects against tooth decay and periodontal disease. But one thing is certain: 60 to 80 percent of the bacteria in the mouth cavort on the tongue. Bad breath also often arises there. And a tongue cleaning can at least not hurt - because the doctors agree. You can use a tongue scraper or a tongue brush. Even home remedies such as sage, myrrh and thyme kill the germs on the tongue.

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    To eat and drink tooth friendly

    You may have feared it: if it gets to your teeth, sweets and other foods that contain sugar are taboo. You should also enjoy fruit juices only in moderation because of the acids they contain. Good is fluoride - it is proven to protect against tooth decay. The mineral is not only found in fluoride-containing toothpaste, but also in fluoridated salts or mineral waters.

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    Ade glow stems

    Smoking not only promotes yellow teeth, it also increases the risk of gingivitis. The reason: nicotine constricts the vessels, even in the mouth. As a result, the gums are less well supplied with blood and are less able to defend themselves against invading bacteria.

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    Do not be afraid of the dentist

    Even if you may be afraid of: For dental prophylaxis includes the regular visit to the dentist. Twice a year, is the recommendation. The dentist examines your teeth with a mirror and a dental check and can immediately treat the first signs of tooth decay and periodontitis. Also possible in the dental practice: professional teeth cleaning. It also removes stubborn deposits on difficult spots in the mouth.

Mouthwash - Pregnancy does not oppose

Alcohol-free mouthwashes are also suitable for pregnant women, to whom dentists explicitly recommend intensive oral hygiene for periodontitis prevention. Because of the pregnancy hormones, the tissue and thus the gums are supplied with more blood, softer and thus more vulnerable - periodontal bacteria can penetrate more easily.

Women who consistently eliminate the harmful microorganisms significantly reduce the risk of periodontitis in pregnancy. The additional use of a mouthwash can help.

According to one study, the regular use of a mouthwash during pregnancy may even reduce the risk of premature birth: Pregnant women suffering from periodontitis have a significantly higher risk of premature birth. A germicidal mouthwash Lowers the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth, helping to prevent periodontal disease.

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