When my gingivitis got out of hand, I went out on search for the best mouthwash to help reverse my gingivitis. After all, I hate gingivitis. I hate bleeding gums. I hate bad breath. What I found was that with the proper treatment, I was able to reverse my gingivitis…and I will show you how to reverse your gingivitis.
Before I get into this article, I must state that I have a medical degree and DO NOT have a dentistry degree. Most of what I have learned has been through peer-reviewed journal articles, personal research, and personal experience.
So let’s get right into it.
The Mouthwash to Cure It All
Sorry, bad news, there is no singular mouth wash that can cure it all.
The mouthwash recommended above contains stannous fluoride, which has been shown to fight bacteria and gingivitis. If there is any mouthwash than can reverse gingivitis, this is it. However, to truly fight gingivitis, you will need to use it in conjunction with other products and techniques that I will go through in this article. To truly reverse gingivitis, you need to use the right mouthwash, toothpaste, tooth brush, floss and technique.
It might seem time consuming and expensive, but trust me, it is well worth it. You will spend much more time with dentist visits and dental bills if you don’t deal with it now.
How to Reverse Gingivitis: The Best Products Available
These are the products that I recommend to help get rid of your gingivitis. The mouthwash and toothpaste contain stannous fluoride. The electric toothbrush is the one that I recommend, but to be honest any electric tooth brush will do. I prefer using a water flosser because of how easy it is to use, but any floss will also do. Keep reading below to learn how to properly use these in conjunction with each other to reverse your gingivitis.
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|Fairywill Electric Toothbrush|
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|Waterpik Water Flosser|
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What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease. It causes irritation, redness and swelling of the gums (gingiva = gum, itis = inflammation). Symptoms of gingivitis include bad breath, bleeding gums, painful gums, and receeding gums. If it is lead untreated, it ultimately results in periodontitis. At this stage, when the disease of the gingiva reaches the soft tissue supporting the tooth it is much more serious. Periodontitis can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
How to treat gingivitis?
To treat gingivitis, you should try to get rid of the bacteria and plaque that surround your teeth. This bacteria is ultimately what contributes to the development of gingivitis. By clearing it out, the net effect is that the gingivitis will inevitably also improve.
What is Stannous Fluoride?
Stannous fluoride is a specific fluoride formulation that has been shown to fight plaque and gingivitis. Other fluoride formulations (the one commonly found in fluoride mouthwashes or toothpastes) only offer enamel protection, but they do not specifically reverse gingivitis. If you want to see research articles on it, check the bottom of the page for peer-reviewed articles. You can also read more about stannous fluoride on my other page that goes in detail about stannous fluoride in toothpastes.
The One Problem with Stannous Fluoride
Stannous fluoride is literally a godsend and works so well that it should not even be compared to other fluoride preparations or active ingredients. It’s one downfall? It is an unstable ion and when it oxidizes, it can cause teeth staining.
For this reason, stannous fluoride fell out of popular use for a while, but with new compounds that can stabilize stannous fluoride, it no longer causes staining when used properly. Note that Colgate’s toothpaste in particular uses a patented zinc phosphate compound that no other brands use that has been shown to prevent stains.
Getting Back to Mouthwashes
Generally, mouthwashes are used to help get rid of bacteria in the mouth. Other secondary benefits of using mouthwashes include having better breath or helping promote enamel repair. Let’s quickly take a look at a few popular mouthwash brands.
Listerine is one of the most popular over the counter brands. It leaves a fresh taste in your mouth and many people love it for this reason. It uses four essential oils (eucalyptol, thymol, methyl salicylate, and menthol) to help destroy plaque. It actually does a decent job and if you like it for its flavor and mouth feel, then go for it. Just be sure to follow the daily care guide I near the bottom of this post if you want to truly reverse your gingivitis.
ACT is a trusted brand with an ADA seal of acceptance. It uses fluoride as its active ingredients to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. The problem is that the amounts of fluoride in ACT are quite miniscule AND as I said earlier, fluoride doesn’t actually have much antibacterial properties. It is not necessarily a mouthwash that I would recommend.
Crest Pro-health mouth rinse contains cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), which is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. It acts by penetrating the cell membrane to kill the bacteria (bactericidal). Certain studies say that it works as well as Listerine while others say it doesn’t. At the end of the day, if you like this over Listerine, then go for it.
Why Stannous Fluoride Mouthwashes are Better
As I already said earlier, stannous fluoride is a
godsend. It not only very effectively fights plaque and gingivitis (proven in
studies). It not only kills bacteria effectively (both bactericidal and
bacteriostatic), but also strengthens enamel.
I highly recommend using a stannous fluoride mouthwash. If you must use another mouthwash because of taste preferences, its fine, but make sure to follow my dental hygiene tips below. Stannous fluoride mouthwashes, including the one I recommend, does NOT have a great mouth feel or flavor, but it works.
Proper Daily Teeth Hygiene Routine
Make sure to follow these tips to set yourself up for reversing (or preventing) gingivitis
Brush 2-3 Times Per Day
In an ideal world, we would brush our teeth 3 times per day – once after every meal. With the realities of life and work, this just cannot be a reality for most people. Therefore, I recommend brushing your teeth at least 2 times per day. If you can brush after breakfast, that would be preferred so that the fluoride can rest on your teeth and strengthen your enamel.
Brush Your Teeth LIGHTLY
Do not brush your teeth hard. In fact, pretend like you’re gently polishing an apple. Brushing your teeth hard only further damages your teeth. I highly recommend an electric toothbrush for this reason. The random motions of the toothbrush prevent repetitive scrubbing of one area. It also naturally makes you not scrub your teeth as hard. If you choose to use a manual toothbrush, make sure you get one with soft bristles.
Floss at Least Once Per Day
Nothing can replace a good floss. Flossing removes plaque that accumulates between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. I personally use a water flosser because it is much faster to use, but if you prefer to use a regular floss that works as well.
Correct Order in Which to Perform Teeth Hygiene
Most people are performing the order of teeth cleaning in an entirely wrong order..and order is everything. Try to follow the order I have listed below. I give reasons as to why further below.
- Use a water flosser (optional – if you are going to use a water flosser)
- Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash
- Brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing stannous fluoride for 2 minutes. Do NOT rinse with water after brushing.
- Floss your teeth (optional – if you are going to use a regular floss)
The most basic rule of ordering for teeth cleaning is that you want your stannous fluoride toothpaste to be last. Stannous fluoride works best in strengthening your enamel and killing bacteria if it is allowed to sit around in your mouth. This is why it should be last and you should not rinse with water after brushing. If you do otherwise, you are significantly reducing the efficacy of the fluoride.
If you are going to use a water flosser, use it first so that it doesn’t wash away the fluoride. If you use a regular floss you can choose to either do it first or last in the process. If I were to choose for myself when I first started the process of fighting my gingivitis, I would do it first. My gums bled like crazy and would require 3-5 rinses to stop bleeding. Again, if you’re rinsing, then you’re washing away the fluoride.
Next, rinse with your mouthwash. The point is to reduce the bacterial load in your mouth. Even if you are using a mouthwash with stannous fluoride in it, I still recommend using it before you brush your teeth. As you know, stannous fluoride can stain teeth, and the stannous fluoride in mouthwash does not have the same stabilizing compounds that toothpaste has in it. So use the mouthwash before you brush so that as you brush to prevent stains.
Finally brush your teeth (or floss), but make sure not to rinse after you brush.
That’s it! I hope with these tips you will be able to reverse your gingivitis as well.
Paepegaey AM, Day TN, Boulding A, Harris R, Barker ML, Bellamy PG. In vitro comparison of stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride, and sodium monofluorophosphate dentifrices in the prevention of enamel erosion. J Clin Dent. 2013;24(3):73-8.
Conforti N, Mankodi S, Zhang YP, et al. Clinical study to compare extrinsic stain formation in subjects using three dentifrice formulations. Compend Contin Educ Dent Suppl. 2000;(27):23-7.
Li Y, Suprono M, Mateo LR, et al. Solving the problem with stannous fluoride: Extrinsic stain. J Am Dent Assoc. 2019;150(4S):S38-S46.