The health of your mouth affects your overall health. This is something that we discuss daily with our patients. We want to be partners with our patients to achieve Complete Dental Health.
Homecare is extremely important: brushing 2 times a day for 2 minute, flossing 1 time a day and seeing your dentist 2 times a year of more frequently if recommended. We know everybody has heard this before and it might sound insignificant however keeping up with this regimen daily and making it a routine habit will improve the health of your mouth and your overall health.
In addition to mechanically cleaning the mouth there are mouth rinses that can be used as an excellent adjunct to improve oral health.
Fluoridated mouth rinses have been proven to help prevent cavities. Fluoride has bacteriostatic properties and it makes the enamel more resistant to breakdown from the foods and beverages we eat and drink. Fluoride mouth rinses should be used after brushing and flossing and one should not eat or drink for 30 minutes after use.
Antibacterial rinses are used to help the gum tissues. Mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine gluconate , CHX, are shown to reduce S. Mutans and Lactobacillus. CHX has bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties which make it an effective mouth rinse for the disruption of plaque and treatment of gum disease.
Quaternary ammonium compound cetylpyrdium chloride, CPC, helps reduce plaque and gingival inflammation. It reduces a bacterium related to endodontic, gingival and periodontal infections.
Mouth rinses containing essential oils, EO, reduce the bacterial vitality, thickness and density of oral biofilm. Common EO: thymol, eucalyptol, methyl salicylate and menthol.
Patients with dry mouth, xerostomia, are at higher risk for cavities because of the acidic ph of the mouth. Products such as Biotene neutralize the ph of the mouth and fluoridated mouth rinses help prevent cavities. Xerostomia can be caused by disease, medications or chemotherapy/radiation treatment.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar compound found in fruits and vegetables and is used as a natural sweetener. Xylitol reduces pathogenic microorganisms in plaque. It also reduces the adhesion of microorganisms to the tooth surface and reduces acid production. Xylitol is beneficial for both gum and tooth health.
Using chewing gum with xylitol also has the benefits of physically removing plaque and food debris but also increases salivary flow which neutralizes the ph in the mouth as well.
All of the products that are discussed are good adjuncts to your oral health care regimen. However they do not take the place of brushing 2 times a day for 2 minutes and flossing 1 time a day. It is important to have professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist. It is also important to have your gingival (gum) health evaluated. For patients who have periodontal disease it is important that you receive professional cleanings every 3 months with gum therapy as necessary.