"It's simple - mouthrinses can reach nearly 100 percent of the mouth's surfaces, while brushing focuses on the teeth, which make up only 25 percent of the mouth," says Christine A. Charles, who led the study.
"Even with regular brushing and flossing, bacteria often are left behind," adds Charles, director of Scientific and Professional Affairs, Global Consumer Healthcare Research and Development, the journal General Dentistry reports.
The study found that using a germ-killing mouthrinse twice a day, in addition to regular brushing, can significantly reduce the occurrence of plaque, as well as gingivitis - the beginning stage of gum disease, according to a Global Consumer statement.
The six-month study involved 139 adults with mild to moderate plaque and gingivitis who were separated into two groups. Members of the first group brushed their teeth and rinsed with a germ-killing mouthrinse twice daily; members of the second group brushed their teeth and rinsed with a placebo mouthrinse twice daily.
"Results show that the group using a germ-killing mouthrinse reduced its occurrence of plaque by up to 26.3 percent," says Academy of General Dentistry spokeswoman Janice Pliszczak. "Furthermore, that same group showed a 20.4 percent reduction in gingivitis."
Pliszczak notes that not all mouthrinses are formulated to kill germs-some are meant for anti-cavity or whitening purposes-so be sure to read product labels.
Following the six-month study, nearly 100 percent of participants using the germ-killing mouthrinse showed a reduction in gingivitis, while only 30 percent of the placebo group experienced similar results.
"Most people brush their teeth for less than one minute, when, at the very least, they should be brushing for two minutes.
Additionally, only two to 10 percent of people floss regularly and effectively," says Pliszczak.
"Adding a germ-killing mouthrinse twice a day to your daily routine is another way to attack the germs that can cause significant oral health problems," adds Pliszczak.