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Benefits Of Cetylpyridinium Chloride Mouthrinse

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You brush, you floss, and you go to regular preventive dental appointments — but is there anything else you can do at home to improve your oral health? For some patients, using mouthrinse may provide additional oral health benefits. Here's why your dental professional may recommend an antimicrobial mouthrinse containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC).

What Is Cetylpyridinium Chloride?

A study in the International Journal of Oral Science notes that CPC is a compound that works against the harmful bacteria within dental plaque, making it a useful ingredient in some mouthrinses. Specifically, CPC may decrease the plaque's ability to mature, and it can help prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease. This may help a patient reduce their chances of developing gingivitis (gum inflammation and bleeding) and ultimately improve their overall oral hygiene.

Types of Mouthrinses

Not all mouthrinses are the same. In fact, there are many different oral rinse formulas for different oral issues. This is why it's important to educate yourself on a product's ingredients, as well as its intended use, before trying it. You can also consult your dental professional if you have any questions.

Oral rinses contain many different components intended to produce certain benefits, explains the American Dental Association (ADA). For instance, fluoride is sometimes added to mouthrinses to help prevent tooth decay, while peroxide may be added for whitening benefits.

Everyone's wants and needs vary, which is why so many mouthrinses exist today. However, these products generally fall into one of two categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic rinses offer benefits like whitening or breath freshening, while therapeutic mouthrinses contain active ingredients that help prevent dental conditions, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Benefits and Risks of a CPC Mouthrinse

The ADA affirms that antimicrobial agents such as CPC may assist in reducing plaque in the mouth, improving bad breath and preventing gingivitis. Because of these oral health effects, mouthwashes containing this ingredient typically fall under the category of therapeutic mouthwashes.

If you're looking for an alcohol-free mouthrinse, one containing CPC may be a good option. As an article in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry explains, CPC is found in many mouthrinse formulas that are alcohol-free. This may be appealing to some patients, as alcohol-free CPC mouthrinses may create less of a burning sensation during use and do not promote a bitter taste in the mouth.

While CPC mouthrinses may offer several oral health benefits, the ADA also reports that some mouthrinses with antibacterial capabilities, such as those containing CPC and chlorhexidine, may cause brown staining on teeth, restorations or the tongue.

Best Practices for Using Mouthrinse

Consider asking your dental professional about using mouthrinse in your oral care routine to control mouth bacteria or obtain cosmetic benefits. No matter what type of mouthrinse your dentist recommends, it's important to follow their instructions and the prescription label closely. Remember that using mouthrinse does not replace the need for daily flossing and twice-daily brushing, and you should always consult your dental professional before trying any new oral products to ensure that you find the best one for your needs.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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