Manufacturers of mouth rinse products often claim that their products are effective against gum disease and plaque. But that is simply not true. At least, it is not a proven fact that they have this effect. That is the conclusion of a report by the FDA, which has resulted in warning letters being sent to three manufacturers and marketers of mouth rinse products.
Only one proven effect of mouth rinse products
The only ingredient in mouth rinse products that has a scientifically proven effect is fluoride. Fluoride is only effective against cavities in that it helps remineralize teeth. Although the fluoride in mouth rinse products might have a beneficial effect against cavities, it will not remove the plaque itself nor the diseases caused by plaque. Only a toothbrush can remove plaque, and only by regularly removing plaque can gum disease be effectively prevented.
Are mouth rinse products beneficial?
Since gum disease is a medical problem, products claiming to have therapeutic effect must have presented scientific proof supporting this claim. The manufacturers of mouth rinse products have not presented any such proof and are thus not permitted to claim that their products have any such therapeutic effect. False claims as to the effect of mouth rinse products might have a harmful effect on the oral health of buyers, since they put too much trust in the product and pay too little attention to the oral health habits that are actually effective in preventing oral diseases, such as brushing and flossing.
Since the amount of fluoride needed to protect teeth against cavities in most cases is met just by using toothpaste for brushing twice a day, many dental health professionals find mouth rinse products to be an unnecessary supplement to the daily oral health routine.
In the warning letters from the FDA, the three companies were given a deadline of 15 days to take action to correct the matter. Otherwise they would risk prosecution and the removal of their mouth rinse products from the shelves.