Which Mouth Rinse Should I Use?

JW9(sm)

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.

Bad Breath? No Problem!

Do you suffer from bad breath? Does it linger with you throughout the day and you just can’t get rid of it? Don’t be embarrassed, you and the 40 million Americans are not alone.

Halitosis, also more commonly known as bad breath occurs when unpleasant odors are exhaled through the mouth. In most cases, bad breath originates from the mouth. One of the most common causes of bad breath is the build-up of plaque. When people don’t floss, or brush as much as they should, the plaque then begins to harbor bacteria resulting in bad breath, even if you just brushed your teeth! Some symptoms to be on the look out for bad breath are; smell, bad taste or taste changes in your mouth, dry mouth, and a coating on your tongue.

 Most causes of bad breath are due to inadequate oral hygiene. If good oral hygiene practices, or a dentist do no eliminate bad breath, you should consult your physician. Very few causes of bad breath may need medical attention from a physician. When to seek that type of medical attention is when you have a persistent dry mouth, sores in the mouth, pain with chewing or swallowing, white spots on the tonsils, fever,  or just started a new medication. New parents need to watch their babies or young children because bad breath may be a sign of infection or undiagnosed medical problem.

If your bad breath is a result of poor oral hygiene, here are a few tips to help your teeth stay healthy, and smelling clean!

  • brush twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride
  • brush teeth after meals, especially meals that contain foods high in acid
  • replace your toothbrush every 2 months, this helps your overall health as well. This way you won’t keep putting the same bad bacteria in your mouth over and over again.
  • make sure you are seeing a dentist twice a year for your regular cleanings and check-ups to avoid any problems that might be brewing in your mouth
  • brush your tongue regularly, it really makes a huge difference
  • make sure you are flossing regularly so those food particles that get stuck in between your teeth don’t harbor bacteria
  • keep your mouth moist and wet by drinking lots of water! It’s not a bad idea to make it a habit to drink more water throughout the day because your overall health also benefits from it! Who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special?

Don’t be embarrassed if you have bad breath, just remember you aren’t alone. Try the tips suggested above, and if they don’t work, come in and see a dentist. We want you to be comfortable, and our number one goal is to see you walk out the door with happy smiles!

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