Dr. Calcagno Explains Oral Rinses

oral rinsesAlthough mouthwash has evolved into something of a catchall term, not every bottle of liquid in the oral health aisle is for killing germs in your mouth. Read on as Dr. Gilly Calcagno explains the different types of oral rinses.


A basic mouthwash is an anti-bacterial liquid whose main ingredient is usually an oral antiseptic. The most popular antiseptics in mouthwash are alcohol, methyl salicylate, chlorhexidine gluconate, and cetylpyridinium chloride. Many mouthwashes also contain fluoride, but not in concentrations as great as fluoride rinses.

Fluoride Rinse

Fluoride has a long history of aiding in the building and maintenance of strong enamel. Fluoride rinses tend to have no or insignificant anti-bacterial functions, and only serve to increase tooth exposure to fluoride. These rinses are also sometimes labeled anti-cavity rinses, and help protect teeth against cavities and other damage caused by some oral bacteria.

Dry Mouth Rinse

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be a very serious condition. When insufficient amounts of saliva are present in the mouth, food and bacteria can build up more easily, and the acids produced by bacteria are not neutralized as they should be. Dry mouth rinses can act as salivary substitutes for those suffering from dry mouth, or can stimulate saliva production. Since many cases of dry mouth are not curable, varieties of dry mouth rinse are the treatment of choice.

Pre-Brush Rinse

Some pre-brush rinses are used to temporarily stain plaque on teeth, aiding in its removal during brushing. Others can loosen plaque, making brushing more effective.

Schedule an Appointment Today

While oral rinses are a great way to maintain oral health, they are no replacement for a regular brushing and flossing regimen, in addition to dental cleanings with your Rochester dentist twice yearly. Call Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today at (507)281-3659. We happily serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, and Farmington.