When we talk about our patients caring for their mouths, we ALWAYS discuss brushing and flossing. Most of my patients admit to not flossing, and brushing is something they do, but many struggle with doing a good job. When we think about the mouth as a whole, 100% of the mouth is made up of soft and hard tissues. 22% of the mouth is teeth, and the remaining 78% is soft tissue. Only about half of the tooth surface is exposed, the other half is touching another tooth on each side. So in reality, if our patients are only brushing they are only cleaning 11% of the mouth, if they are brushing and flossing then they are still only cleaning 22% of the mouth. What about the other 78% of the mouth? Are the soft tissues not important?
Hygienists, myself included, are considered, "the keeper of the gums." So when I think that the majority of my patients are caring for only 11% of their mouth, I can't help but to cringe. I still believe that brushing and flossing are very important in mechanically removing debris from the mouth. However, brushing with toothpaste and flossing, are not killing the bacteria, which is the real problem. Cleaning the areas where the bacteria (and other pathogens) are hiding, can be difficult for patients to reach. I recommend that every patient leaves with some sort of rinse, and my best recommendation is OraCare. As you can see on this site, activated chlorine dioxide has many great properties, including: killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, reducing VSC's, and breaking up biofilm. The best part of using this cleanser is that it can access all the nooks, crannies, and crevices that patients are missing on a regular basis, providing them with the healthier, cleaner mouth that we want them to have!