Answer: Hi Chelsea, Thank you for writing in with your question.
There is a mouthwash called Chlorhexidine that can thoroughly kill the bacteria that cause gum disease, however it is only available by prescription and long term use has the side effect of staining the teeth.
In general and for me personally, I might use a mouthwash twice a day. I might swish it around for about 60-90 seconds before spitting it out and then I would not eat or drink anything for 20 minutes. However, this is very general and you’ll need to check with your dentist to be sure of what he intended for you specifically to do with this mouthwash.
Despite that, the ADA recommends that you floss daily. I personally would not count on a mouthwash alone to do the job.
He probably only intended it for you to use it in conjunction with brushing and flossing at home. So double check with your dentist to see what his intention was.
The key problem in fighting gum disease is removing a thin, invisible layer of material called plaque from your teeth daily. Plaque provides a home for the buildup of anaerobic bacteria. Some of these bacteria are the kind that will cause gum disease. If they are able to live in the plaque they will multiply rapidly and cause gum disease. The plaque acts as a shield against oxygen and our efforts to remove/ kill the bacteria. It provides a home for the bacteria live in. The plaque shelters and protects the bacteria.
Therefore, any home care measure against gum disease , must target plaque.
Bleeding Gums are a Typical Indicator for Gum Disease
Stopping the plaque formation is the key to both preventing and stopping the progression of gum disease. However, doing so is easier said than done. The bottom line is that you will need to do manual work on your teeth and gums to remove plaque and keep it off.
It forms very quickly, so it is necessary to do this work daily. However, since the statistics say that about 80% of adult Americans have gum disease, it makes one wonder if regular flossing and brushing are enough. (I don’t think they are)
For me, I found that additional tools were helpful and I talk about them on http://GingivitisKiller.com
With all of these, I still have to very careful at this point. Because I have lost a moderate amount of gum tissue. This tissue is necessary to support our teeth. I do not wish to lose any more because my interest is in keeping my natural teeth for my entire lifetime.
So, I continue to use all of the tools mentioned above in order to make sure I keep my gums healthy. Even, with that, I still find spots where plaque buildup may be occurring.
Fighting gum disease requires work and diligence.
A prescription mouthwash called Chlorhexidine can indeed kill the bacteria that cause gum disease by itself, however, long term use of it will stain the teeth.
Again, it would probably be best if you raised these issues with your dentist to find out exactly what he meant to accomplish by having you use the mouthwash.
If you find out that this mouthwash is indeed ‘magic’ and works all by itself to rid you of gum disease and does not have unwanted side effects, please let me know. I’d love to have access to such a product and tell others about it.
Alas, I suspect that such a magical mouthwash does not exist. I’m also hopeful that I could be wrong. (hey, I’ve been wrong before).
If you have gum disease or think you might, contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. This information is not intended to provide advice.