Vigorous rinsing of the mouth will aid in the removal of food debris and loose plaque. For maximum effectiveness, a technique should be use whereby fluid is forced through the interproximal areas (between the teeth) of clenched teeth with as much pressure as possible in order to loosen and clear debris.
Fluoridated rinses (such as Act) act to strengthen teeth and reduce risk of cavities. Antimicrobial rinses (such as Listerine) concentrate more on killing the bacteria that contributes to periodontal (gum) disease. Other rinses, such as Listerine with fluoride, do both.
Fluoridated rinses should be used before bed, after brushing. Do not rinse with water after using the fluoride rinse as the fluoride needs time to chemically bond to the tooth.
Irrigation devices are a means of irrigating specific areas of the mouth, whereas rinsing is a means of flushing the entire mouth. The purpose of the device is to disrupt plaque from the teeth and gums, and flush it out of the mouth. Irrigation alone, without toothbrushing, is not effective and is inferior to tooth-brushing. It is not indicated for those who brush effectively.
Individuals with poor oral hygiene habits, fixed orthodontic appliances, crowns, fixed partial dentures, and implants however, may benefit from a home irrigation device.