by Karen Kaiser, RDH
Automatic washing bays are a hassle-free convenience for washing cars. A driver drops change into the pay portal and chooses a wash package, then pulls the car forward. A sign illuminates and instructs the driver to stop on a conveyor belt, then enter a bay area. Next, sensors trigger the wash cycle. Nozzles spray a soapy solution to soak the car, wetting its surface and loosening dirt. Likewise, dental hygienists can loosen debris from hard and soft surfaces by using a soapy protocol.
During the wash phase, deep cleaning detergents applied with scrubbing brushes rotate on top of the car. Clinicians need to scrub to remove debris from hygiene hands.
Scrub 'n' Glove, a liquid soap from Essential Dental Systems, is a hypoallergenic pump soap that contains the antibacterial agent triclosan, and unique salt-magnesium minerals from the Dead Sea. The soap is water based and leaves hands smooth. Amazingly, teeth can benefit from soap specially made for oral application.
A patient recently told me he routinely brushes with soap, which proved to be very economical. I was intrigued, so I looked into it and learned that soaps for dental use are available on the Internet, and there are pH balancing benefits in bars, shavings, and bottles.
When using bar dental soap, take the toothbrush and rub it over the bar to load the bristles with soap shavings. A dropper type that dispenses liquid dental soap from a bottle is also available. To use the liquid type, place a few soap drops directly in the mouth, and then place the wet toothbrush in the mouth to lather.
Dental soaps are available in natural flavors and may have xylitol for sweetener. They are much tastier than body bar soap (which is not recommended for oral use), which people may have miserably experienced orally at some point during childhood.
Brushes are not used in touch-free car washes. Instead, high-pressure water sprays filth away. Dental offices can use waterless soaps for hands, which can be sprayed from no-touch dispensers. Metrex VioNexus offers an antibacterial alcohol formula. The clinician simply waves a hand under the automatic eye to trigger a spray mist. This no-rinse product sanitizes hands and dries quickly.
High-pressure rinses spray a continuous stream of water onto a car to douse the soapsuds and remaining dirt from a car's surface. Mouthrinses and oral irrigators take on the task of flushing bacteria away from tooth surfaces. Newly-introduced anticavity rinses combine fluoride action with germ fighting ability.
ACT fluoride rinse by Chattem, and Listerine mouthrinses by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare both have the same name for their newest rinse formulas — Total Care. Listerine fans will appreciate Total Care's sodium fluoride and acidulated phosphate to help restore the tooth's mineral composition. The purple mouthwash, to be used twice a day, refreshes breath while destroying bacteria. ACT Total Care is an anticavity rinse with sodium fluoride. Like other ACT varieties, ACT Total Care rinse is alcohol free and should be swished one time each day after brushing. To stimulate and deep clean tissues, use irrigators with fluid flow and pulsating pressure.
Spots and streaks diminish with regular use of anticavity rinses. These mineral-restoring mouthrinses enhance the finish of tooth surfaces, just like washing a car's exterior makes it clean and shiny. High-pressure rinse action and oral irrigators wash away accumulated crud.
Wash away summertime grime with soap made for the job.
The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned.
About the Author
Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis' Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].