Julie West BS RDH
As you stroll down the dental product aisle in your local grocery store, have you ever taken the time to fully acknowledge the amount of dental products that are out there? While we are fortunate to have options available to us, it can also make the process of selecting the product right for you more challenging. When it comes to oral rinses, one size does not fit all. Taking time to examine the labels of the mouth rinses on the shelf can help you make the best choice for your specific needs.
There are two categories of oral rinses: therapeutic rinses and cosmetic rinses. Cosmetic rinses mask bad breath and leave you with a “fresh” feeling; however the results are short in duration. Therapeutic rinses will do a variety of things such as: reducing halitosis (bad breath), aiding in the reduction plaque levels and inflammation by killing oral bacteria, and providing additional anti-cavity protection. To ensure you are getting a mouth rinse that will be therapeutic and not just cover odor, look for a seal from the ADA and words such as “antigingivitis” and “anticavity”. Now that you’ve narrowed down the contenders, let’s discuss ingredients.
Rinses that are antiseptic and kill oral bacteria have active ingredients of essential oils such a menthol and thymol. These rinses also usually include a high percentage of alcohol. You may notice a “sting” or burning sensation when using these types of rinses. For those who have xerostomia (dry mouth) naturally or from medication may want to stay away from these rinses as alcohol will dry out the tissues even more. Other types of rinses act as anticavity rinses by providing more fluoride to the teeth. The active ingredient in these rinses will often be sodium fluoride. Many rinses today will combine these two types of rinses into an anticavity/antigingivitis rinse containing all of the above ingredients.
Some rinses may stain teeth after prolonged use. A third type of oral rinse that is not usually discussed contains the active ingredient stabilized chlorine dioxide. Several studies have been conducted on the CloSYS stabilized chlorine dioxide product line. This ingredient has been shown to kill oral bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease with results similar to the prescription oral rinse, chlorhexidine, dispensed at your dentist’s office, as well as reduces volatile sulfur compounds which cause halitosis.
CloSYS is available over-the-counter and allows patients to leave the rinse unflavored or add in the amount of mint flavoring they want. The rinse does not contain alcohol that will burn or dry tissues and does not stain teeth as chlorhexidine does. Using this information, you are prepared to walk down the dental product aisle with the ability to appropriately choose the rinse that will provide you with the specific results you need.
American Dental Association. (2013). Mouthrinses. Retrieved from http://www.ada.org/1319.aspx
Rowpar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. (2013). CloSYS Research. Retrieved from http://www.closys.com/pros/research.html
David Drake, MS, PhD. Alissa L. Villhauer, BS, Dows Institute for Dental Research, College of
Dentistry, University of Iowa An In Vitro Comparative Study Determining Bactericidal Activity
of Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide and Other Oral Rinses Journal Clin Dent 2011;22:1-
M. Robert Wirthlin, DDS, Brand J AHN, DDS, Belma Enriquez, BS, and M. Zamirul Hussain,
PhD. Effects of stabilized chlorine dioxide and chlorhexidine mouthrinses in in vitro cells
involved in periodontal healing. Periodontal Abstracts, The Journal of the Western Society of
Periodontology, vol. 54, no. 3, 2006.