Great question! Let’s look at a study that was done by the Academy of General Dentistry. The question they considered was:
Might regular use of a germ-killing mouthwash add to the dental health benefits expected from brushing and flossing?
Here’s what they found:
This study involved 139 generally healthy adults (average age 31) with mild to moderate plaque and gingivitis (inflamed gums). They were randomly assigned to brush their teeth twice a day and to rinse for 30 seconds, morning and night, with an antiseptic mouthwash or a placebo mouthwash, and to clean between teeth with floss or other devices as needed. Everyone used the same type of toothbrush and toothpaste. After six months, both plaque and gingivitis had declined more among people using the germ-killing mouthwash than among the others. The same was true for bleeding from their gums. Plaque had declined 26 percent more for those using the antiseptic mouthwash than for the placebo users. Among teeth that had plaque problems at the start of the study, 51 percent of those cleaned with the antiseptic mouthwash had less plaque at the end of the study vs. 12 percent of those cleaned with the placebo. A measurable improvement in gingivitis was found for 98 percent of those in the antiseptic mouthwash group vs. only 30 percent of the others.
The answer, according to their results then, is “yes”. Note that we’re specifically talking about an antiseptic mouthwash (in the case of this study, they used Listerine). An antiseptic mouthwash is designed to kill germs that help form plaque, a substance which, if not removed, can lead to gingivitis. And remember, 75% of adults over 35 have some form of gum disease.
So perhaps an antiseptic mouthwash would be a good supplement to your regular brushing and flossing. Gum disease is something you definitely want to avoid and such a mouthwash will help.