Which Mouth Rinse Should I Use?

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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.

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Kids and Dentistry

I have to say that my favorite appointments are the ones with patients who are 18 and younger. No offense to the rest of the adult world, however, kids are the best. They are like little sponges soaking up all the dental knowledge I can share. Being a future parent I want to know all the information I can get to help my children have smooth transition into new experiences. Here are some kid tips for in office and at home to help our children have a great time at the dentist.

Office Tips:

When should my child first come to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) children should come no later than 12 months of age. That may sound early to most people. However, this helps create a dental home for the child. We can also answer questions that the parents may have. Your dentist and hygienist will give advice on snacking habits, teach oral hygiene tips and make sure your child’s teeth are coming in on schedule.

The first visit is called a “Happy Visit”, we show them the instruments and the dentist checks their teeth. Cleanings are dependent on the temperament of the child. Whatever they are comfortable with. We want a happy, calm visit.

Regular Check ups

Cleanings are to be 2 times per year. The dentist checks for dental decay, orthodontic needs, discuss sports guards and if sealants should be placed. Hygiene cleanings are performed. Fluoride treatments are given and oral hygiene instruction is tailored to the child’s needs.

What if my child has a cavity?

Then you are at the perfect place. At our offices we have wonderful doctors and staff who help each and every patient have a great experience. Start off by setting a good example to your child by being calm. The child will always be well-informed on what is going on during the appointment. Believe it or not we have had better experiences with not having the parent in the room during the procedures. This helps the child develop trust with the doctor and the child will more likely communicate with the dentist about his or her needs rather than the parent.

Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is very effective for children. It is fast acting, calms the patient quickly, it is safe, reversible, and is affordable for most patients. Kids respond well to the nitrous. Just like adults your child will always have localized anesthesia to make the procedure virtually painless.

We may refer some patients to a pediatric dentist. This is decided by the child’s temperament, if there is a large amount of dental work to be done, or they need to be sedated. However, most of the time we can take care of all dental needs presented.

Home Tips:

Oral Hygiene Habits
Brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. An electric toothbrush helps kids brush for longer and it is more fun.

It is recommended for parents to help children brush and floss until the age of 8.

Floss at least 1 time per day if not more.

Sequence-

  1. Rinse with mouthwash
  2. Floss
  3. Brush, spit in the sink and do not rinse afterwards. We want the fluoride to stay on the teeth.

Infants should have their oral cavity wiped with a clean damp cloth before bed at night.

Tooth brushing charts are a great motivator for kids who have a hard time brushing.You can find many online to print out.

Fluoride

Under 2 yrs smear fluoride toothpaste onto the brush. 2 yrs and above a small pea size should suffice. According to the AAPD.

Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent from too much being digested.

Further questions about fluoride and its benefits consult your dentist or hygienist.

Diet

Have a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, meat and beans, dairy, and whole grains. Limit amounts of starchy and sugary foods.

Significantly decrease amounts of soda and fruit juices

Limit frequency of snacking.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that also helps prevent cavities. It is put in gums such at Ice Breaker Ice Cubes, Trident and others. It also can be bought to be used in baking. Xylitol is a great way to keep sweets in our lives with benefit of not getting cavities.

Dental Caries is the number one disease that affects children. The good thing is that cavities are preventable. Health in the oral cavity affects our entire bodies. With these tips and many others our children are on their way to a life of happy, healthy, smiles.

-Kara Johansen BSRDH

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Dental Care For Your Baby. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Nitrous Oxide. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask your Dentist About Diet and Snacking. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Regular Dental Visits. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/