According to the American Dental Association, gum disease affects nearly half the population. It’s a worrying condition – but there are things you can do to prevent and treat it. Buying the right mouthwash is one (but only one). We’ve selected and tested nine mouthwashes for gingivitis for you to consider.
Before checking them out there are 4 key things you need to know: what gum disease is; what causes gum disease; can you cure gum disease and can mouthwash help? They’re summarised below.
Take a moment to read this short section to ensure you select the right product for your needs. We go into more detail later but if you’re concerned about gingivitis you should always speak to your dentist.
What is gum disease, what causes gum disease, can you cure gum disease, and how can mouthwash help?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of a sticky bacterial film called plaque along the gum line. Plaque bacteria irritate your gums and cause inflammation.
If your gums have started to bleed whilst brushing, are sore or swollen and you have noticed bad breath, you probably have the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis.
You may also notice a faster buildup of plaque and tartar. This is due to gaps (called periodontal pockets) opening between your teeth and gums. These provide perfect breeding grounds for more plaque bacteria.
You must treat gingivitis quickly or it could develop into the next stage, periodontal disease. This affects the tissues holding your teeth in place. You may notice pain when chewing, your teeth may loosen, your gums recede and you could lose teeth or even bone. A number of studies also link gum disease with more serious general health conditions.
Can you cure gum disease? You can treat gingivitis, eliminate the symptoms and keep it at bay if you maintain a good oral health regime. So in that sense, yes.
If you have advanced periodontal disease, you will need professional treatment. The symptoms can be relieved and managed, but the damage done may be irreversible (for example, a lost tooth won’t grow back).
Mouthwash CAN help, BUT only if it is a specialist mouthwash designed to tackle gum disease. Cosmetic, whitening mouthwashes won’t help at all.
In addition, mouthwash will only help if you start with a clean slate. If you have a buildup of tartar (hardened plaque), you must consult your dentist and get it removed professionally. Otherwise investing in a good mouthwash for gum disease will be a waste of money.
Best mouthwash for gum disease
|TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse,|
|Reduction/prevention of plaque, gingivitis and all early symptoms of gum disease.|
|Gengigel Oral Rinse,|
Gum PerioShield Oral Rinse
|Gingivitis, reducing periodontal pockets and later stages of gum disease such as receding gums|
|CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Oral Rinse,|
|Preventing plaque/bacterial buildup and eliminating bad breath associated with gum disease|
|Nature’s Answer Periobrite||Reducing and controlling plaque bacteria naturally|
|Listerine Ultra Clean,|
Colgate Total Gum Health
|Preventing plaque/bacterial build up and maintaining good oral health on a shoestring|
TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse
- Key ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride, xylitol and zinc gluconate
- How does TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse taste? Minty, not burning
- Unique Selling Point: Originally created by a dental surgeon for his own daughter
How does TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse work?
TheraBreath Oral Rinse was created by a dentist whose daughter was bullied due to bad breath. So you can be sure that TheraBreath was created with an absolute commitment to restore confidence
But TheraBreath Healthy gums does more than eliminate bad breath. Unlike other TheraBreath products it contains cetylpyridinium chloride. This is approved by the FDA and clinically proven to kill plaque germs, control and prevent plaque and relieve gingivitis symptoms.
The action of cetylpyridinium chloride is supported by the use of xylitol. This is a natural sugar acid which bacteria cannot process. However, the effort wasted by the bacteria in trying causes them to starve and die out.
On top of this, Therabreath Healthy Gums also contains zinc gluconate which controls plaque, prevents tartar from forming and neutralizes bad breath.
What we Like
- Formulated by a dentist/bacteriologist
- Clinically proven to be effective against plaque/tartar build up
- Relieves the symptoms of gingivitis
- ADA approved
- Alcohol and SLS free so less chance of sore mouth or canker sores
- Vegan, kosher, approved for diabetics and not tested on animals
- No artificial colours or flavours
- Gentle formula, non burning.
What we don’t Like
- Quite costly as you need 20ml per swish
- Cetylpyridinium chloride may kill beneficial (as well as harmful) bacteria.
How much does Therabreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse cost?
Each swish is 20ml. The regular size bottle contains around 5 doses. By investing in a multi pack of six you can reduce each treatment to around 55c.
Who is Therabreath Healthy Gums Best for?
If you have bleeding and swollen gums and have begun to notice bad breath, you could have gingivitis. TheraBreath Healthy Gums is cleverly formulated to deal with the problem at source, relieve symptoms quickly and significantly reduce and prevent the plaque that has caused the problem in the first place.
Because it does not contain alcohol it is great for anyone with sensitive gums.
It is recommended for managing gum problems due to hormonal change (such as pregnancy or menopause) and diabetes (as it contains no saccharin).
TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse Ingredients
Water, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Flavor (natural), Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Bicarbonate, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Chlorite, Sodium Citrate. Active Ingredient: Cetylpyridinium Chloride (0.05%) the FDA recognized Antigingivitis/Antiplaque ingredient.
Vitis Gingival Mouthwash
- Key ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride, zinc lactate, permethol and pro vitamin B5
- How does Vitis Gingival taste? Mild and fresh
- Unique Selling Point: Daily use, non staining gum care that eases the symptoms of gingivitis, prevents its development and revitalises gums
How does Vitis Gingival Mouthrinse work?
Vitis Gingival is cleverly formulated using a number of ingredients that combine to relieve, treat and prevent gingivitis.
The key antibacterial ingredient is cetylpyridinium chloride which prevents the formation of plaque and reduces inflammation. It is supported by the addition of permethol and provitamin B5 which also reduce bleeding and pain. Furthermore, they revitalize gum tissue and increase resistance to inflammation.
Finally, xylitol and zinc lactate boost the antiseptic effect of cetylpyridinium chloride whilst the zinc further reduces bleeding and neutralizes bad breath odours.
If all that is not enough, Gingival Mouthwash also contains sodium fluoride to protect teeth as well as gums.
What we like:
- Alcohol free & non staining
- Specially formulated to prevent and treat bleeding and inflammation of the gums
- Long-term use helps to prevent gingival inflammation
- Inhibits the formation of plaque
- Neutralises bad breath odours
- Protects gums and boosts gum health
- Clever combination of beneficial ingredients to relieve, treat and prevent gingivitis
- Contains xylitol which inhibits bacterial growth
- prevents tooth decay
- fresh flavour
What we don’t like:
- Cetylpyridinium chloride is a broad antiseptic which may also kill good bacteria
- Quite expensive
Who is VITIS Gingival Mouthwash best for?
This is a mouthwash specifically engineered to manage, relieve and prevent gingivitis. If you are suffering from sore, bleeding gums and have noticed that you are also developing bad breath, Gingival will provide fast effective relief.
Used long term, Gingival will prevent symptoms from returning by re-energising gum tissue and helping gums fight back.
It’s also great for anyone who is prone to getting gingivitis. This may be due to diabetes, pregnancy, smoking or because of certain medications.
The only fly in the ointment is that Cetylpyridinium is a broad spectrum antibiotic. So it’s likely to kill beneficial, as well as harmful, bacteria.
Nevertheless, studies show that the combination of Cetylpyridinium and zinc lactate is clinically proven to significantly reduce the severity of gingivitis as well as reducing the bacterial plaque that cause it.
How much does VITIS Gingival cost?
A single dose of Gingival is 15ml and a 500ml (17 ounce) bottle is around $24. This makes each dose around 70c.
What ingredients are in VITIS Gingival?
Aqua, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Xylitol, Sodium Gluconate, Panthenol, Poloxamer 407, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Benzoate, Zinc Lactate, Sodium Methyl Esculetin Acetate, Sodium Methylparaben, Allantoin, Lactic Acid, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Sodium Saccharin, Aroma, C.I. 16035.
- Key ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid
- How does Gengigel Oral Rinse taste? Lemony and slightly medicinal
- Unique Selling Point: Uses an ingredient naturally found in the body which promotes healing and tissue regeneration
How does Gengigel Mouthrinse work?
Gengigel Oral Rinse contains hyaluronic acid which is found in the connective tissue in our bodies. It manages the healing process and is used by doctors to heal wounds and help skin grafts connect and grow.
When applied orally, it is clinically proven to reduce inflammation and repair and regenerate gum tissue. It can help gum tissue to reconnect to the tooth and close the gaps (periodontal pockets) that open up between your teeth and gums where bacteria multiplies. This ensures you are less likely to experience further infection.
The healing action of hyaluronic eases the soreness associated with gum disease and it’s formulated so that it ‘sticks’ to gums to give a lasting, protective coating.
To inhibit bacteria, Gengigel contains xylitol and alcohol. Alcohol is an effective antibacterial agent but it does kill good bacteria, as well as bad. It can also irritate soft gum tissues.
-> See current price for Gengigel
What we like
- Promotes natural, rapid healing
- Helps to repair and regenerate gum tissue and close periodontal pockets
- Provides fast relief from pain and discomfort
- Formulated to ‘stick’ to gum tissue to provide a lasting protective barrier
- Protects from future infection
- Safe for daily use
- Contains xylitol which inhibits plaque bacteria
What we don’t like
- Cost (see current price)
- Contains alcohol which some people are sensitive to
- Personally I dislike the taste which is a lemony medicinal flavor
- Thick consistency may take getting used to
How much does Gengigel Mouthrinse cost?
A 150ml bottle of Gengigel Mouthrinse is around $14.50 (prices can vary, generally being cheapest on Amazon). This makes each 10ml dose about 97c per swish.
Who is Gengigel Mouthrinse best for?
If you suffer from gingivitis or feel you might be developing periodontal disease, you should definitely consider Gengigel Mouthwash.
It’s also effective if you have receding gums or damaged oral tissue, have had recent dental surgery or newly fitted braces or dentures.
Gengigel Mouthrinse relies on an ingredient found naturally in the body which controls the healing process. It has a rating of 4.5 out of over 500 users on Amazon, with many comments about the rapid pain relieving and protective properties of the product.
It’s not cheap. But if you suffer from any painful oral condition or receding gums you, like many users, may feel it is an excellent investment.
What ingredients are in Gengigel Mouthrinse?
Active: Sodium Hyaluronate and Xylitol (a natural sugar alcohol that inhibits plaque-causing bacteria)
Inactive: Aqua, Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dichlorobenzyl Alcohol, Polycarbophil, Aroma (CITROMINT 1/074600), Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Acid Blue 9 (CI42090)
Sunstar GUM PerioShield Oral Health Rinse
- Key ingredient: Delmopinol hydrochloride
- How does Sunstar GUM PerioShield taste? Strong, medicinal taste
- Unique Selling Point: Third generation oral rinse
How does Sunstar GUM PerioShield Oral Rinse work?
Sunstar GUM Perioshield contains delmopinol hydrochloride.
This is not an antibacterial ingredient. Instead, delmopinol breaks down plaque making it easier to remove. It also stops plaque bacteria from ‘sticking’ to oral surfaces so they can’t establish themselves and multiply.
Used regularly, PerioShield forms an invisible ‘shield’ around teeth and gums which works continuously to fend off plaque bacteria.
Used as directed (and combined with a good oral health regime) it can even help reduce periodontal pockets (gaps that open between teeth and gums due which can cause more serious infection).
An statistical analysis of several studies shows that using an oral rinse containing delmopinol is effective at reducing gingival bleeding, gingivitis and plaque levels.
What we Like
- Reduces bleeding
- Quickly relieves and reduces other gingivitis symptoms such as swollen and sore gums
- Reduces depth of periodontal pockets when used as directed and with a good oral health regime
- Prevents gingivitis from developing into more serious gum disease
- Provides continuous protection if used correctly
What we don’t like
- Contains alcohol (though at a low concentration)
- First few uses caused taste disturbance/numbness
- Strong medicinal taste
Who is Sunstar GUM Perioshield Oral Health Rinse suitable for?
PerioShield is recommended for anyone who has inflamed, bleeding or swollen gums.
Because it breaks down plaque and prevents it building up again it is especially useful for anyone prone to plaque build up. This may be due to:
- Chronic illness and certain medications
- Smoking or poor diet
- Overlapping or crowded teeth
Lastly, Perioshield helps to reduce periodontal pockets so it’s also suitable for anyone who is worried that their gingivitis may be developing into something more serious
How much does Sunstar GUM PerioShield Oral Health Rinse cost?
A 300ml bottle contains 30 10ml doses. Prices vary, but generally a bottle costs around $11 making a single dose around 37c.
Sunstar GUM PerioShield Oral Health Rinse Ingredients
water, alcohol (1.5%), delmopinol hydrochloride, flavor,sodium saccharin, sodium hydroxide.
CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Oral Rinse
- Key ingredients: A patented formula (Chlorostan) based on chlorine dioxide
- How does CloSYS Rinse Taste?: Bland. Mint flavouring (supplied) can be added and is not overpowering.
- Unique Selling Point: Patented formula
How does CloSYS Oral Rinse work?
CloSYS is an antibacterial mouthwash that also targets bad breath.
Bad breath is one of the first signs that gum disease may be developing. If this is the case for you, CloSYS deploys a patented system called chloralstan.
This system is based on chlorine dioxide. It’s clinically proven to significantly reduce plaque bacteria, prevent it from building up again and eliminate the odours caused by harmful bacteria.
The solution is naturally activated by the saliva in your mouth.
CloSYS is an alcohol free unflavoured mouthwash. It comes with a dropper and natural peppermint oil that you can add to the mouthwash, or leave out.
What we like
- Kills 99% of harmful oral bacteria
- Ph balanced to make mouth less prone to bacteria
- Alcohol and sulphate free so gentle on gums
- Contains fluoride so prevents cavities and protects tooth enamel
- No teeth staining ingredients
- Reasonable cost for a large 32fl oz bottle
What we don’t like
- First few uses caused taste disturbance
- Only available in this large size so you are committed to a lot of product!
How much does CloSYS Oral Rinse cost?
CloSYS is reasonably priced and the bottle size is generous at 32fl oz. Each dose is 15ml, that works out to over 60 doses in a bottle with each dose being less than 20c.
It is recommended that you use it after brushing, so if that’s twice a day the cost per day is about 40c.
-> See current price for CloSYS
Who is CloSYS Oral Rinse best for?
CloSYS is ADA approved. It is one of the leaders when it comes to fighting bad breath.
However, its formula also makes it effective at treating the early signs of gum disease and preventing harmful bacteria from returning.
Its mild, alcohol free mix also makes it a great choice for anyone with a sensitive mouth and (as it’s unflavoured) it’s great for anyone with mint intolerance or is using homeopathic remedies.
CloSYS Oral Rinse ingredients
Rinse: water, naturally activated Chlorostan (stabilized chlorine dioxide), trisodium phosphate, citric acid. Flavor dropper: natural mineral oil and natural peppermint.
- Key ingredients: A patented formula based on chlorhexidine and zinc acetate
- How does CB12 taste? The mild mint version is only slightly minty. Mint menthol is stronger but not ‘burning’ strong and neither left an aftertaste
- Unique Selling Point: 12 hour protection against bad breath
How does CB12 Mouthwash work?
CB12 contains chlorhexidine and zinc acetate. Though engineered to target bad breath, its antibacterial ingredients make it effective for fighting early stage gum disease (gingivitis) too.
In fact, chlorhexidine is professionally acknowledged to be the gold standard oral antibacterial. It quickly kills the plaque bacteria that cause gum disease and it clings to mouth surfaces. This means it continues to work, even after you’ve spat it out.
Zinc acetate neutralises the smelly gases that are given off by harmful bacteria.
>Check current price for CB12
What we like
- Uses gold standard oral antibacterial agent (chlorhexidine) to reduce the bacteria that cause gum disease
- Uses zinc acetate to neutralize bad breath
- Contains fluoride so helps to prevent tooth decay
- No Sulphates so gentle on gums
- Provides protection against bad breath for 12 hours
- Cool, mild taste
What we don’t like
- Chlorhexidine can cause teeth staining over time, though a whitening version is available
- Contains alcohol which can dry out the mouth
How much does CB12 Mouthwash cost?
CB12 is slightly more expensive than regular mouthwash. Per dose it works out to between 46c a swish (depending on the size you buy, or whether you buy multi-packs).
It’s up to you whether you use it once or twice a day.
Who is CB12 Mouthwash best for?
CB12 is engineered to zap bad breath caused by bacterial build up. If you have suddenly noticed that you have bad breath, you might be in the early stages of gum disease.
Used correctly, it will both kill the harmful bacteria causing your problems and instantly neutralize the bad breath gases they cause.
0.3% zinc acetate dihydrate, 0.025% chlorhexidine diacetate, aqua, glycerin, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, alcohol, sodium fluoride, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, potassium acesulfame, citric acid and aroma
Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash
- Key ingredients: Coenzyme Q10 and Folic Acid
- How does PerioBrite taste? Fairly strong herbal/medicinal taste that’s fresh and slightly minty
- Unique Selling Point: all natural – yet created by a dentist
How does Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash work?
Nature’s Answer PerioBrite contains natural antibacterial ingredients that help to reduce the amount of plaque bacteria in the mouth.
Its main ingredient is phytoplenolin. This sounds like a chemical but is actually an extract from centipeda, a natural plant remedy used by aboriginal Australians. Combined with the enzyme CoQ10 it relieves inflammation, prevents damage to oral tissue cells and energizes cells so that gum health is restored.
The action of phytoplenolin is supported by the use of folic acid and clove which also boost oral tissue health. And there is a treasure trove of other natural antibiotic botanical extracts which cleanse, refresh and moisturize the mouth.
Lastly it’s sweetened with xylitol. This is a natural sugar alcohol that bacteria waste energy trying to feed on. This causes them to die out, leading to a serious reduction in harmful bacteria in the mouth.
What we like
- All natural, yet formulated by a dentist
- Designed to boost oral health at a cellular level
- No sulphates
- Cruelty free
- Alcohol, gluten and fluoride free
- Contains xylitol
What we don’t like
- Cost – each dose is 25ml, that’s a lot of mouthwash per swish!
How much does Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash cost?
Each bottle contains 20 doses, making it around 60c a swish. Some users only use half the dose and find the wash is still effective.
Who is Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash suitable for?
PerioBrite Natural Mouthwash is a good choice if you want to use an all natural product. It promotes oral health at a deep down cellular level.
It contains an array of natural botanical ingredients that have long standing, recognised oral health benefits. And many of these stimulate and energize tissue cells to work to optimum levels to keep your mouth naturally healthy.
If you want an all natural product that promotes gum health and has the kudos of being formulated by a dental professional, you should consider investing in Nature’s Answer PerioBrite.
However, we do recommend you check with your dentist that the product is working effectively.
What ingredients are in Nature’s Answer Periobrite Mouthwash?
Phytoplenolin (Centiped Cunninghamii Extract), Bio-Chelated Extracts: Calendula Flower, Chamomile Flower, Echinacea Purpurea Tops, Gotu Kola Herb, Prickly Ash Bark, Olive Leaf, Grapefruit Seed, Black Walnut Green Hull, Green Tea Leaf, Goldenseal Root, Essential Oils Of Peppermint, Oregano, Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Eucalyptus & Thyme, Bio-Saponin (Quillaja Extract, Yucca Extract, Sarsaparilla Root Extract, Wild Yam Root Extract), Xylitol Folic Acid, Cinnamon Bark Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone). Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin.
Listerine Ultraclean Oral Care Antiseptic Mouthwash
- Key Ingredients: Four essential oils
- How does Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic Mouthwash taste? Powerful wintergreen
- Unique Selling Point: More than a century of experience making mouthwash
How does Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic Mouthwash work?
Named after the father of antiseptic surgery (Joseph Lister) you would expect Listerine to be big on antiseptic ingredients.
And for well over a century Listerine has used a basic recipe of four essential oils, all with powerful antiseptic properties (eucalyptol, menthol, thymol and methyl salicylate).
This combination also reduces inflammation, prevents plaque and tartar build up and provides a strong flavor. The flavor is strongly influenced by the methyl salicylate (wintergreen) in my view
Listerine also contains alcohol which is a disinfectant
Lastly zinc chloride is used to prevent bad breath bacteria from producing smelly gases.
What we like
- After the initial ‘kick’ there is a long lasting fresh mouth feel
- Most clinically researched mouthwash
- Can be used long term
- Credible brand
What we don’t like
- Strong taste which I felt was too hot
- Contains 21% alcohol which is pretty high
How much does Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic Mouthwash cost?
A dose of Listerine is 20ml. At around $5.50 a bottle, this makes Listerine around 20c a swish.
Who is Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic Mouthwash best for?
If you want a reasonably priced maintenance mouthwash that is clinically proven to rapidly relieve and fight gingivitis as well as keeping it at bay, this is an excellent option.
However, if you don’t like that familiar kick you get with Listerine products, or you find you are sensitive to mouthwashes containing alcohol, this is not for you. You may instead want to give Colgate Total Gum Health (reviewed next) a try.
Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic Mouthwash Ingredients
Eucalyptol (0.092%), Menthol (0.042%), Methyl Salicylate (0.060%), Thymol (0.064%) Water, Alcohol (21.6% v/v), Sorbitol, Poloxamer 407, Benzoic Acid, Zinc Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Sucralose, Sodium Saccharin, Green 3
Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash
- Key ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride
- How does Colgate Total Gum Health Mint taste? Cool menthol flavour
- Unique Selling Point: 24/7 Bad breath control and long lasting ‘cool’ feeling
How does Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash work?
Colgate Total Gum Health contains the antibacterial agent cetylpyridinium chloride which inhibits growth of bacteria that cause gum disease and bad breath.
It also acts to form a protective coating along the gum line that protects you from future bacterial buildup.
> See current price for Colgate Total Gum Health
What we like
- Clinically proven to reduce gingival bleeding
- Has a strong, refreshing menthol flavour
- Sodium lauryl sulphate free
- Alcohol free
- Can be used long term as no staining ingredients
- Helps to protect against plaque and gingivitis
What we don’t like
- Some users find the taste has too much of a kick
How much does Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash cost?
Even though one dose of this mouthwash is large at 20ml, it still only costs around 2c a swish if you buy a multipack of 6.
Who is Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash suitable for?
If you are in the very early stages of gum disease, or you are looking for a good budget mouthwash that you can use on a long term basis to keep gum disease at bay, this is a great option.
What ingredients are in Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash?
Cetylpyridinium Chloride 0.075% – (Antigingivitis/Antiplaque) Water, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol, Poloxamer 407, Flavor, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Saccharin, Sucralose, FD&C Green No. 3.
What is gum disease and why does gum disease occur?
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gingiva – the tissue holding teeth in their sockets.
Inflammation is part of our immune response. It’s a warning that something’s wrong. The gingiva inflame and swell to try to protect the body from invasion by plaque bacteria.
Plaque build up is the main cause of gingivitis but other factors make it more likely to occur. These include:
- Hormonal change
- Chronic illness and certain medications
- Poor diet
- Overlapping or crowded teeth
Why Is It Important For Gingivitis To Be Treated?
Gingivitis can be quickly dealt with but should never be ignored. If it is, it may develop into more serious periodontal disease that may not only cause tooth loss, but also threaten your overall systemic health.
If plaque’s not removed, it hardens into tartar which cements itself to tooth surfaces in areas your toothbrush can’t reach, including below the gum line. This may cause gaps to form between the teeth and gums (periodontal pockets) and gums may then become infected.
This is exactly what your body was trying to prevent by swelling the gums. And what it was trying to warn you about by making your gums bleed and feel sore.
Once the gums do become infected, you may develop periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss and the spread of bacteria into your bloodstream. This in turn can then affect your general health.
But take heart! This progression can be stopped if you take prompt action. And the mouthwash you choose can make a significant difference in stopping gingivitis in its tracks.
Can Mouthwash treat Gingivitis?
The right mouthwash can remedy and prevent gingivitis … IF it’s part of a consistent oral hygiene regime and IF you start with a clean canvas.
By this we mean that if tartar has already built up along your gum line it needs to be removed. The only way to do this safely and effectively is at the dentist!
Once the tartar is gone it’s vital to brush AND floss correctly to regularly remove plaque before it gets the chance to build up again.
We provide more general information on flossing below, but for now what should you look for in a mouthwash for gum disease?
What should you look for in a mouthwash for Gum Disease?
- Antibiotic ingredients that treat the gum line where plaque bacteria can build up. These include cetylpyridinium chloride and sodium chlorite
- Alcohol free formulations – alcohol can increase inflammation and soreness if you are sensitive to it, as well as drying out the mouth
- Patented formulas – this shows that the manufacturer has spent time and money researching the effectiveness and safety of the product
- Clinical studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the product
- Ingredients that relieve inflammation and/or encourage healing, for example hyaluronic acid, cetylpyridinium chloride, permathol and vitamin B5
- And if bad breath is one of your symptoms look for ingredients that neutralize bad breath odors such as zinc acetate or chlorine dioxide
A programme to treat and prevent gum disease at home
Using the best mouthwash for gum disease is only one line of defense. You must also brush correctly at least twice a day. Increase this to after every meal if you are prone to gingivitis or have a family history of gum disease.
But brushing and using mouthwash must form part of a wider oral health routine that aims to protect your gums.
- Floss as well as brushing! No matter how good your brush is, there are tight spaces in your mouth it can’t reach – including under the gumline. So you must floss once a day to treat and prevent further gingivitis. I hate string floss so I use interdental brushes after every meal. I also have a water flosser, which is a fun, fast and easy way to floss. You can even get cordless water flossers that can be used in the shower for maximum convenience.
- Use a specialist toothbrush. Think about upgrading to a Sonicare 5100 Protective Clean which promises 100% healthier gums than can be achieved with a manual toothbrush
- Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 months to ensure you are always removing as much plaque as possible
- Regularly check your gums: Any changes in color or appearance, see your dentist or dental hygienist
- See your dentist twice a year for a deep clean and check up. If you have weakened immunity, a family history of gum disease or are at risk due to other factors, then more regular check ups may be necessary. Whilst there, let him or her know what products you are using and ask them to check if they are working effectively
- Lastly, eat healthily. In particular, cut down on sugary, starchy foods. Sugar encourages the growth of bacteria and the production of bacterial acids.
Conclusion and Best Buys
The main cause of gum disease is plaque buildup – usually because of a lack of consistency in your oral health regime.
The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis – an inflammation of the gingiva tissues which attach the tooth to the gum.
Symptoms include sore, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath and a rapid buildup of tartar (yellow, hardened plaque along the gumline). Tartar can cause gum tissue to separate from the tooth creating pockets that are ideal breeding grounds for more harmful plaque bacteria.
If you have tartar build up you must get this professionally removed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, choose a mouthwash that is specifically designed to treat gingivitis. Our top choice is Vitis Gingival because it is alcohol free and has a range of ingredients that combine to deal with gingivitis from all angles.
If bad breath is your worst symptom, our top choice is CloSYS, again as it is alcohol free and does fight gingivitis at source.
If your symptoms are more severe (you feel your teeth are loosening and your gums receding) or you have any questions you should first of all seek professional advice and get a really deep clean.
After that, the mouthwash you use should promote healing as well as targeting plaque bacteria. On balance (but it’s a close thing) our top pick is Sunstar GUM shield. Although it contains alcohol, it is at a low concentration and it is better formulated to combat plaque bacteria as well as helping to close periodontal pockets.
When all your symptoms are gone, stick to the oral health routine we set out above and use a good maintenance mouthwash. We choose Colgate Total Gum Health. It’s great value for money and won’t burn or dry out your mouth.
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