Alternative Mouthwash Techniques Prove Effective

Image courtesy of nenetus at


Image courtesy of nenetus at

Patients with special needs at high risk of caries often have difficulty using fluoride mouthwashes by themselves. Alternatives to rinsing and spitting may be necessary. Fortunately, recent research has shown that caregivers can use sprays or cotton swabs to effectively administer mouthwash too.

The study involved 5 healthy men and 16 healthy women, ages 18 to 22, who used standardized brushing routines twice a day with 1,000-ppm fluoride dentrifice for a week before and during the experimental period. They also used a 0.05% sodium-fluoride, 226-ppm fluoride mouthwash.

The subjects used the mouthwash via rinsing, spray, and cotton swab application, with each application technique performed a week apart. Unstimulated whole saliva was sampled for 2 minutes at baseline and at zero, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after each fluoride mouthwash application.

The spray and cotton swab techniques yielded similar fluoride levels in whole saliva compared to rinsing at all time points. The half-life of the fluoride concentration ranged from 1.62 minutes in the spray group to 2.08 minutes in the cotton swab group, which the researchers did not consider statistically different.

The researchers concluded that the spray and cotton swab delivery methods were effective alternatives to conventional rinsing. Caregivers may consider using them in treating patients with acute or chronic illness or developmental disabilities who have difficulty using mouthwash themselves.

The study, “Effective Fluoride Mouthwash Delivery Methods as an Alternative to Rinsing,” was published by Nursing Research.

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