Mouthrinses are used for a variety of purposes in dental and oral care including helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease as well as finding application in the management of bad breath (halitosis) and dry mouth (xerostomia).
The current evidence suggests that while mouthrinses can be beneficial in the management of these conditions, they are not nearly as important as the effective removal of plaque by brushing and the control of dietary sugars in the cases of tooth decay and gum disease respectively. Where halitosis is concerned there are no scientific data that support (or contraindicate) the use of mouthrinses. Once again, it is good oral hygiene that is critical as the primary preventive measure.
Are there any downsides to using mouthrinses? Well, these can include staining of the teeth or taste disturbance but more seriously a link between alcohol-containing mouthrinses and oral cancer has been recently posited. The outcome of the research that has been done is that no clear-cut, causative associations appear to exist but that it may be prudent nonetheless to avoid alcohol-containing mouthrinses to reduce what is likely to be a very low risk overall.
Tooth whitening (bleaching) is a safe and successful procedure as long as the recommended materials and clinical protocols for use are adhered to. The currently recommended products contain 10% carbamide peroxide which releases 3.5% hydrogen peroxide. The maximum permitted 21% carbamide peroxide releases 7% hydrogen peroxide.
Until a recent EU Directive limiting bleaching to dental professionals, the prescribing of whitening products was completely unregulated with no controls on the agents used or the amount of peroxide they contained (up to 35%).
This resulted in significant problems with tooth hypersensitivity as well as often indifferent results. Some sensitivity may still be experienced with 10% carbamide peroxide but it is usually mild and transient.
There is no evidence that the hardness and abrasion resistance of teeth is affected by peroxide-containing tooth bleaching products. The dental pulp (nerve) does not appear to suffer any irreversible damage and there appear to be no adverse effects on the adjacent gum tissues.
While not causing harm, there is no evidence from any randomized, controlled, double blind, independent clinical trials that the use of bleaching “laser”lights during (in-office, chairside) whitening techniques increases the longevity or effectiveness of bleaching