Can Mouthwash Help Prevent or Treat Gum Recession?

Can mouthwash treat gum recession

If you have receding gums that are causing sensitivity you may be wondering if the plethora of mouthwashes advertised as being good for gum health can help fix, repair or stop gum recession. So can any of these gum healthy mouthwashes really treat gum recession and can any prevent sensitivity? Let’s find out.

So, Can Mouthwash Treat Gum Recession?

Sadly gums can’t grow back once they have been lost, but it may be possible to prevent further gum recession and get relief from sensitivity by using specialized mouthwashes regularly in combination with excellent oral hygiene that disrupts plaque effectively without damaging the gums in certain situations.

How Do Mouthwashes Help Prevent Sensitivity

Some mouthwashes, such as Sensodyne may help provide relief from sensitivity by calming or blocking pain signals from your dental nerve.  

These specialist mouthwashes contain Potassium Nitrate, a salt compound. This natural desensitizing agent blocks pain signals from the dental nerves located within your tooth root to the brain.

A bit of background to help you understand how that works – –

Dental nerves and blood vessels are at the center of your tooth, within the pulp. Dentine, a yellowish-hard substance surrounds the pulp. Within the dentine are small tubules. When you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet or acidic fluid within the tubules moves and stimulates the dental nerves.

By rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash containing potassium nitrate you’re coating your teeth in a substance that helps reduce the sensitivity. 

However, just like toothpaste containing potassium nitrate, you need to use them all the time or the coating wears off. 

Can Mouthwashes Prevent Further Gum Recession?

Mouthwashes may help prevent further gum recession when used in combination with oral hygiene that is first class. 

The theory is that specialized mouthwashes help prevent a build-up of plaque. Plaque contains bacteria, some of which can lead to the initiation of gingivitis which when not treated can lead to periodontitis. This inflammatory condition leads to the destruction of bone and ligaments which support and hold teeth and gums in place. When the bone and soft tissues are lost the gum tissue recedes. 

The theory is that (following professional gum health treatments to control any periodontal disease if required) special mouthwashes prevent the accumulation of plaque and can get into areas that your toothbrush can’t. 

Which Mouthwashes Help Treat The Symptoms of Gum Recession?

Those which contain chlorhexidine digluconate or cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) have been shown in laboratories to prevent the accumulation of plaque. 

Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) 

This is found in Crest® PRO-HEALTH™ Mouthwash (known as Oral B Pro expert in the UK) and Parodontax Active Gum Health Mouthwash works by penetrating the bacterial cell, a bit like puncturing a water balloon, this eventually leads to bacterial death. 

Chlorhexidine Digluconate 

Chlorhexidine Digluconate is a disinfectant and antiseptic found in Corsodyl Intensive Treatment Mouthwash. The mouthwash works by preventing bacteria from growing and spreading so helps prevent the buildup of plaque on your gums for 12 hours after use. Mouthwashes containing this are only available on prescription in the USA but are available over the counter in the UK. 

It’s for short-term use only, may stain your teeth and it doesn’t taste too great either. They’re used to treat gum disease and are also used to prevent infection post-oral surgery and ease the symptoms of mouth ulcers and sore throats.

Mouthwashes aimed at treating gum disease, just like those for sensitive teeth you need to use them consistently for them to be helpful. 

You should use them at a time other than when you clean your teeth as you will wash away the fluoride you have just applied to your teeth. Also if you rinse immediately afterwards you will wash away the mouthwash. 

Mouthwash Alone Can’t Prevent Further Gum Recession

The most important thing you can do in the prevention of further gum recession, whatever the cause, is to disrupt plaque bacteria twice a day from along the gum line and between the teeth each day. 

This is best achieved using an electric toothbrush with a soft head and fluoride toothpaste. Cleaning the interdental spaces (between the teeth) daily with single tufted toothbrushes, interdental brushes or floss is also essential. 

If you have periodontal disease (red, swollen inflamed gums that bleed when you brush) seeking advice from a dental expert is recommended – you may also take a look at other posts on our home page for advice on treating gum disease at home.

Those with oral piercings are advised to remove them. Seek dental advice if you have ill-fitting dental appliances or misaligned teeth as this can lead to gum recession. 

Other Treatment Options for Receding Gums

If you have receding gums caused by periodontal disease there are some other available treatments which include

  • Professional gum health treatments 
  • Surgical Scaling and Root Planing
  • Gum Grafts

Can You Fix Receding Gums at Home

Sadly once gum tissue has been lost it won’t grow back, just like if you chop a limb off it won’t grow back – unless you’re a starfish then it might. Assuming you’re not a starfish, whilst you can’t regenerate or regrow the gums you CAN prevent it from getting worse at home.

Unless oral piercings are causing lacerations in your gum tissue you can prevent gum recession at home by using the right oral hygiene technique which you can find out more about here.  

Knowledge is power where beating gum disease is concerned. Gum Disease: Solved online education tool arms you with the information to understand why you have gum disease and how you can beat it in only 10 minutes per day at home, without the need for costly and ineffective dental visits.

Beat Gum Disease Now

To Summarize

Some specialized mouthwashes can help reduce sensitivity, others can prevent further gum recession caused by periodontal disease (once any existing gum disease has been treated professionally) when used in combination with healthy lifestyle choices and good oral hygiene – brushing the teeth twice a day and cleaning the interdental spaces. 

They can’t help fix gum recession – they can’t help your gums grow back and they cannot help prevent gum recession caused by mechanical forces some as aggressive brushing, oral piercing or badly fitted dental appliances. 

The most important thing you can do in the fight against gum recession is to gently but effectively disrupt plaque each day and remove any mechanical causes of gum recession.

If you need more help the gum disease guide has several resources which can help.

If you need a little more help how about our world-class course about treating gum disease at home?


Sharon Fyles image

Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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