The aim was to evaluate whether there is an additional beneficial effect on dental plaque removal of rinsing the oral cavity with water before toothbrushing.


In total, 48 non-dental, systemically healthy participants ≥18 years were included in this randomized controlled clinical trial using a split-mouth design. The participants were requested to refrain from any form of oral hygiene for 48 h. First dental plaque scores (PI) were assessed full mouth. Two randomly assigned contra-lateral quadrants were brushed. Next the participant rinsed for 1 min with 15 ml water. Subsequently, the opposite two contra-lateral quadrants were brushed. Brushing was performed without toothpaste. Subsequently the second full-mouth PI assessment was performed. The brushing and rinsing procedure was performed under supervision and brushing time was tracked by a timer, each quadrant was brushed for 30 s. For the buccal, lingual, and approximal surfaces and tooth type, a subanalysis was performed.


At baseline there was no statistically significantly difference between the two sets of contra-lateral quadrants. When a water rinse was used before toothbrushing the PI-score was reduced by 58%. If water rinse was used post-brushing the PI-score reduced by 57%. The difference of 0.04 in mean plaque index score reduction between the two brushing regimens was not significant(P = 0.162).


When a 2 min brushing exercise was performed, on average more than 55% dental plaque was removed. Prerinsing with water did not contribute significantly to toothbrush efficacy.

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