By: J. Shahangian, DDS, MS- San Diego Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
Some mouth rinses refresh your breath and some have therapeutic benefits. The ADA (Food and Drug Administration) categorizes mouth rinses as both having medical benefits and cosmetic purposes.
For the most part, some healing rinses with fluoride have proven to fight cavities, gingivitis, and plaque formation. Cosmetic rinses, on the other hand, only treat bad breath, remove food particles, and reduce some bacteria. You have to look at the label of the mouth rinse to determine if it has the ADA mark.
Sometimes I will prescribe top quality therapeutic rinses as part of the treatment for oral disease or surgery. Other people can also benefit from mouth rinses such as people who have difficulty brushing (e.g. people who suffer from arthritis).
Caution: even medicated mouth rinses are only moderately effective. For example, using good quality fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with water is just as effective, if not more effective than mouth rinses.
 http://www.fresh-smiles.com/sub.php?page=care_rinses, accessed December 22, 2011