It's all about the pH!
"Do you ever wonder why some people continue to get cavities despite meticulous oral hygiene whereas others who rarely brush and floss do not? Can a person really be cavity prone?
Cavities are caused by a bacterial imbalance in your mouth, and when dentists drill and fill cavities, they are only treating the result of the infection, not the imbalance itself—and the decay returns. For many, it’s a frustrating, reactive approach to oral health, but not surprising.
Until recently, dentists were taught that if you remove bacteria with good oral hygiene, you’ll be free of decay. The problem is that it’s just not that simple."
Above was an excerpt form the CARIFREE website, one of the few companies that actually employ pH technology to help patients re-balance the environment in their mouths and decrease their risk for teeth decay.
Interestingly, the majority of the products available on the shelves are low in pH (high acidity). Although patients may see some benefit on decreasing their gum inflammation and getting the pleasure of having a fresh minty taste after, they may also be increasing their risk for tooth decay by using many of these rinses below.
Below is a chart with the most common brands of mouth rinses in the market. The goal is to utilize rinses that are high in pH (above pH of 7; alkaline rinses, above the red line in the chart).
On the chart below, you will observe that some mouth rinses are as acidic as some of the sodas in the market. (Imagine brushing your teeth and then rinsing with some Diet Dr. Pepper right after... Why did you even bother brushing your teeth in the first place?... you may wonder...)
There are no laws that mandate that these products actually have to work in all levels. You may have a rinse that has fluoride in it which by itself strengthen your tooth enamel but the same rinse may have a pH of 4, which is high acidic and increases your risk for tooth decay. Makes sense? No! I know... but that's how the dental product market works. Unfortunately, a regular consumer is forced to actually have to learn this stuff in order to separate the good form the garbage on shelves... and that is a lot of garbage out there!
For example, the one in the bottom of the chart is called the Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse. I challenge anyone to pack more buzz words into any single product! The rinse has a 4.8 rating on amazon. Wow! Amazing! Is it? Most of reviewers claim they saw improvements in their gum health. That's good. No one likes bleeding and puffy gums.
The active ingredient is Aloe Vera which is known to help with decreasing inflammation. So far.. it makes sense. Good! But wait..
What if 30% (or whatever percentage) of these same 5 star reviewers were moderate to high risk for dental decay (poor quality enamel, high plaque builders, etc)? By using this rinse on a daily basis, this rinse, due to its high acidity, could actually increase these customers' risk for cavities over time. Healthy gums, but more cavities. Not the tradeoff most people are willing to take.
Although their gums would be healthy, pink, firm and pretty, their teeth would be taking a silent beating by being exposed to a low pH environment over long periods of time.
Just because the rinse has one good thing, it doesn't mean that it is all good! Alcohol in some Listerine solutions kills bugs in the mouth, but alcohol dries your mouth, which increases your risk for tooth decay in the long term. Fluoride strengthen tooth enamel, but fluoride's tooth strengthening benefits are counterbalanced on any rinse that is low in pH; like many of the ones in the chart below.
In summary, first, when it comes to dental rinses to protect you against tooth decay, always err on the side of the ones with high pH technology. I like the CARIFREE products because all of their products are high in pH. They also pack topical fluoride, xylitol and other tooth enamel strengthening properties. But, most importantly, again, high pH (alkaline).
Below is a guide for the most common mouth rinse in the dental market today. Stay above the red line!