Mouthwashes serve different purposes for a patient with braces. Therefore, it is important to be aware of one’s specific hygiene needs.
An anti-microbial rinse like Listerine kills the bacteria that accumulates around orthodontic brackets and under the gum line. It is this bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis and bad breath. A recent study by research team at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Dentistry showed that rinsing with Listerine or similar antiseptic products is at least as good as flossing in improving gingival health and plaque reduction, especially in hard to reach areas of the mouth. However, the team strongly argues against completely replacing flossing with mouthwash. Instead, it recommends adding mouthwash to your daily oral health routine.
A second type of mouthwash focuses on enamel health by using fluoride to remineralize areas that become weakened from plaque acids. Mouthwashes like ACT, Colgate Phos-Flur and Crest Pro-Health restore the minerals in the enamel around orthodontic brackets, which is often an area where plaque acid becomes trapped and sits for prolonged periods of time. This leads to permanent staining of the teeth (white spots) or decay.
Finally, there are mouthwashes that use the oxygenating action of hydrogen peroxide to remove oral debris and facilitate the healing of oral sores, which can be a common occurrence at the beginning of orthodontic treatment. Colgate’s Peroxyl and Oragel Mouth Sore Rinse are examples of this type of rinse.
Ask your orthodontist or member of her team on whether a particular mouthwash is appropriate for you.