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Author: Dr Shaochen Liu, Dermatology Registrar, Greenlane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, February 2016.
A mouthwash is a solution used to rinse the oral cavity. This may be to maintain oral hygiene, to prevent dental plaque, or for symptomatic relief.
A mouthwash is sometimes called a mouth rinse.
A mouthwash may be used short-term for a variety of conditions. Some examples follow.
A fluoride-containing mouthwash may be used to reduce the risk of cavities / dental caries.
Mouthwashes contain a variety of ingredients. The active ingredients include:
The active ingredients in mouthwashes act in several ways.
Mouthwash is typically used twice-daily, as a short-term adjuvant to toothbrushing.
The adverse effects of mouthwash depend on its ingredients, and include:
Adverse effects of chlorhexidine make it unsuitable for long-term use:
Benzydamine has local anaesthetic and analgesic properties. It can cause:
Ethanol associated side-effects may occur with mouthwashes containing essential oils.
Other reported adverse effects follow
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