You went to the dentist, got your teeth cleaned up and gums treated, and were beaten to death, hearing over and over again the importance of flossing. And yes, it is crucial. The office suggested using Peridex or Chlorhexidine, a prescription grade, professionally dispensed mouth rinse. But why?
There are millions and billions of bacteria in the mouth. There is a space around each and every tooth. The bacteria flow through the spaces in the gums connecting the gums to the tooth and metabolize carbohydrates in our food. The byproducts from their metabolism cause plaque buildup and becomes very sticky, attracting more bacteria to the location. This space where the bacteria are habituating is generally on the order of 3mm in the healthy mouth. Your toothbrush bristle and floss can easily reach 3mm and debride the area with proper home care technique. However, when not effectively treated at home and with too long an interval between your professional cleanings, this space deepens because the bacteria are partying and causing inflammation in the gums, which can start to degrade your connective tissue. When the connective tissue is deteriorating, this space of 3mm becomes 4, then 5, and continues if not treated. Then at home you cannot adequately clean the area, because your home care tools can only reach about 3mm, so there is this pocket of space that is being left untreated between the professional cleanings at your dental office.
So what do you do? We can’t go home with you every day and bring our instruments!
Well, the good news is that connective tissue can regenerate. Once the bone underneath becomes compromised, we can’t reverse that, but we can still treat it. Connective tissue can be regenerated when we professionally clean the area in the office and then send you home with a rinse which is perfect for combating bacteria that flourish in a low oxygen supply, such as underneath the gum line where there is much less oxygen available. You can use your toothbrush and floss to work on the available 3mm under the gum line and use the rinse to combat the remaining bacteria in the space that exceeds your reach. With two weeks of consistent use, the space can resolve from a 4 or 5mm pocket to a healthy 3mm sulcus. Score! Now, the connective tissue can easily become re-infected, so you will need to intermittently use your rinse to make sure you are disinfecting the susceptible areas. You may think “Okay, I’ll just use the rinse every day.” Well, with prolonged use we see a change in your sense of taste, so that is why we recommend two weeks of continuous use, then touch-up doses on the weekends only. And of course, come see your dentist no later than every 6 months, sometimes sooner if recommended, to keep those teeth and gums healthy!