I pulled this pH scale image from the CariFree website. What is CariFree? CariFree is an entire product line of mouthwashes, toothpastes, gum, and mouth sprays that were developed to have basic pH content, xylitol, and fluoride. The most impressive part of their product line is the mouthwashes. They have a CariFree treatment rinse and a CariFree maintenance rinse. What sets apart the CariFree rinses from others on the market is that they are basic in their pH. The CariFree system of products is a relatively new product line and something that I have only had in my office since May of this year.

I have a patient that has recently been struggling with dry mouth and tooth decay. We set up an appointment so we could further discuss treatment options for prevention of future tooth decay. My patient took it upon himself to bring in some pH strips and the Biotene and ACT brands of mouthwashes to his appointment. I was surprised to find out that the Biotene rinse was a 4.5 pH which is quite acidic. The ACT brand was neutral at 7.0 pH.

It is scary that a rinse like Biotene which is marketed to dentists as a treatment for dry mouth, could actually be causing more harm due to its acidic content. It would be like rinsing your mouth with 7-UP soda. There are many other mouthwashes out there that contain alchohol which apparently is meant to kill bacteria, but it leaves the mouth dry which ultimately encourages bacterial growth.

Since we started distributing the CariFree rinse in May, I have had a number of patients use the rinses. The most common testimonial I hear is that it helps with dry mouth and it makes the teeth feel cleaner.

My recommendation to my patients is that if you are going to use an over the counter rinse, the ACT rinse is your best bet. It has fluoride and it is at least neutral in its pH. If you want a rinse that will help neutralize the mouth and stop de-mineralizing your teeth, then I recommend taking a look at the

CariFree product line.

Kari Ann Hong, DDS1000 Newbury Rd. #190Thousand Oaks, CA 91320www.thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

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