Adult versions - Mouth rinses are used to freshen breath, fight cavities and kill germs (bacteria). The two over-the-counter mouth rinse products with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal of Recognition are Crest and Listerine®.
The active ingredients in Listerine® are three essential oils (thymol, eucalyptol, and menthol), along with other ingredients. Essential oils are the fragrant part of plants that can kill bacteria. Listerine® Total Care mouthwash both kills bacteria and contains fluoride to help fight cavities. No other Listerine® product uses fluoride as an active ingredient.
The sharp taste of Listerine® rinse comes from alcohol. Any Listerine® rinse designed for adults contains it. Alcohol helps destroy bacteria, freshens breath and reduces plaque (which leads to cavities and gingivitis). Vanilla Mint® and Cool Citrus® Listerine® are less intense but maintain the same effectiveness.
Some other mouth rinses have alcohol, and some do not. Check the bottle to see whether alcohol is listed. Children and those wishing to avoid alcohol should not use products containing it. Crest® Pro-Health® Cool Refreshing Clean Mint and Cool Wintergreen oral rinses do not contain alcohol and have the CDA seal.
Other popular alcohol-free rinses on the market include Tom’s of Maine® Natural Cleansing Mouthwash, Biotene®, Oral B Anti-Bacterial Mouthwash® with fluoride, Oral B Anti-Cavity Dental Rinse®, and Oral B® Fluorinse®. Remember to read the label for the active ingredients. Many mouth rinses do not have the CDA seal.
Peridex (Chlorhexidine) is a strong anti-bacterial mouth rinse. It is also recognized by the CDA, but a prescription is needed to buy it.
Just for kids - Currently, two recognized mouth rinses for children are on the market. Both of these Listerine® products are alcohol-free and are safe for children.
The first is Listerine® Agent Cool Blue®. This pre-brush rinse stains the plaque on teeth to make it highly visible. Kids can see the benefits as they brush and floss.
The second, Listerine® Smart Rinse™ is to be used after brushing and flossing. It contains sodium fluoride to fight cavities.
Many adults find that as they age, their teeth become more sensitive to hot, cold and sweet foods and beverages. Tooth sensitivity, also called dentin hypersensitivity, involves pain or discomfort in one or more teeth.
Cementum covers the root of each tooth. Beneath this lies another layer called dentin. When the cementum is worn away, dentin is exposed. Dentin is made of thousands of tiny tunnels called tubules. These tubules lead directly to the inner core or pulp of the tooth. Pain is felt in the pulp, as it contains the tooth’s nerve and blood vessels.
It’s important that your dentist or dental hygienist checks to ensure that the pain is from dentin hypersensitivity. Pain can also come from a crack in the tooth or a filling that has an opening that allows bacteria to get inside the tooth. After an examination of your mouth, you can decide together on the best treatment.
If the pain is in fact dentin hypersensitivity, your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste. Usually the nerve in the tubule is shocking the pulp of the tooth.
It is difficult to know if a product will do what it says it will. How can you tell if it is a fad? One way to check is by visiting the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) website www.cda-adc.ca. Researched products will likely have the Seal of Recognition from the CDA. This symbol can confirm that a product will benefit your oral health.
Information on the CDA website can help you to make an informed choice. First, a manufacturer submits a product to the CDA. Next, the association verifies the research and evidence behind it. They ensure that claims are supported by science. If evidence is lacking, the CDA can request further testing or reject a product. Various products are detailed on the website, along with a list of those bearing the Seal of Recognition.
For more information about oral products:
Canadian Dental Association (CDA)
CDA Seal of Recognition
American Dental Association (ADA)
Topics and Resources: www.ada.org/public/topics
ADA Seal of Acceptance:
To find further information on particular products, Google the following products: Listerine, Crest, Colgate, and Sensodyne.
A chemical called potassium nitrate is often used to calm this nerve. Fluoride is another common ingredient in many desensitizing toothpastes. It helps create a protective layer over top of the exposed nerve endings.
All current Sensodyne® products are recognized with the CDA seal. Sensodyne® has two basic products – Sensodyne® Original and those containing fluoride. Sensodyne® Original is the only product that contains the chemical strontium chloride. It blocks the nerve endings, like a band-aid reducing pain.
Sensodyne® ProNamel® came out on the market this year, in adult and child formulas. This paste contains slightly more fluoride than regular Sensodyne-F® formulations. The adult ProNamel® contains potassium nitrate for desensitizing. The children’s version has the same amount of fluoride but no potassium nitrate. Crest Sensitivity and Colgate® Sensitive toothpastes have potassium nitrate and varying amounts of fluoride.
Since Sensodyne® Original does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, do not expect the foaming action that you get from regular toothpaste. Sensodyne-F® (“F” for fluoride) Brilliant Whitening formula also does not have sodium lauryl sulfate. If you suffer from canker sores, Sensodyne® products without sodium lauryl sulfate are the better choice.
Various medical conditions and medications can cause a dry mouth. It can also be a side effect of radiation to the head and neck. Currently in Canada, no approved over-the-counter products can stimulate saliva production. Consumers are left with one alternative – saliva substitutes. These products replace moisture, lubricating the mouth so it is more comfortable. A variety of solutions, sprays, gels and lozenges are on the market. Common saliva substitutes on Canadian shelves include Mouth Kote® spray and Moi-Stir® spray. Biotene® Oralbalance products include moisture gel, antibacterial toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum. Tom’s of Maine® mouthwash is alcohol free and uses aloe vera gel to soothe dry tissues. Extra® sugarless gum, Trident® sugarless gum with xylitol, and SalivaSure™ moisturizing lozenges are also available.
Cold sores are caused by a virus. They are usually triggered by stress, sunlight, illness or trauma. Burning or slight tingling sensations with slight swelling may warn that a lesion is about to appear. The sore usually appears on the lower lip, but can be anywhere around the mouth.
Two products sold over-the-counter in Canada can be used for cold sores. The first, Abreva® topical cream, should be used at the first sign of a cold sore. It may reduce symptoms (including pain and itching) and the length of the cold sore outbreak. The second, Lipactin® topical gel, contains zinc and heparin. It may help shorten the duration of the sore if used early in the outbreak.
Your dentist or prescribing dental hygienist can prescribe other products for cold sores that may reduce pain, swelling, duration and healing time. Let your health care provider know if cold sores are a problem for you.