If you've gone to the dentist to have red or bleeding gums checked out, or if you've just had your first cleaning in quite a while, your dentist might have given you a mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine gluconate, also known simply as chlorhexidine. This prescription mouth rinse does a wonderful job of returning your gums to a healthy color and reduces swelling, but at the same time, it can increase the amount of tartar and staining you have. Here's what to do to minimize the adverse effects on your teeth if you have to use chlorhexidine.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
If you aren't already using tartar-control toothpaste, temporarily switch during the weeks that you have to use the chlorhexidine. The tartar-fighting properties of the toothpaste can counter the tartar-promoting properties of the chlorhexidine. Why chlorhexidine promotes tartar formation is not well spelled out, but the effect is real. In fact, a study published in 1995 in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry noted that a particular brand of tartar-control toothpaste significantly reduced tartar and stain among a test group of chlorhexidine users.
Add another round of flossing each day to remove food particles and looser plaque that can stain from the chlorhexidine. If you leave the particles and plaque on your teeth, they can harden and become more difficult to remove. As the stain from the chlorhexidine grows, the plaque and particles will only make the stain more noticeable.
Watch What You Drink and Eat
Avoid staining drinks and foods during the time you use chlorhexidine. You just don't need the extra stain-promoting substances when you're already fighting the effects of the mouth rinse.
When you use chlorhexidine, you have to avoid rinsing it out -- just spit out the main amount and let the rest sit on your teeth for a while -- so that means you have to delay eating once you've used the rinse. The rinse, while normally flavored with something like mint, can also make food taste weird for a short time. You're better off eating first so you don't reach for candies or gum to mask the weird flavor of your meals.
Use a Few More Tissues
When you spit out the chlorhexidine, you'll notice that it feels like you've still got quite a lot in your mouth -- and you can't swallow the rinse. As gross as it might sound, grab a few tissues and gently spit what you can into the tissues. That will help your mouth feel a little more normal.
Don't Use the Rinse for Too Long
Your dentist will give you a specific time range in which to use the chlorhexidine. Don't use it for a longer time. The effects of the rinse on your gums are really nice -- it really works well for many people -- but you just increase the stain and tartar risk if you keep using it.
If you've got more questions about avoiding stain and tartar when using chlorhexidine, talk to your dentist as soon as you can. If you really like the overall effect of the rinse and want to know if there's an alternative that will help you keep your gums in such great shape without the extra risks, your cosmetic dentist will be able to help you figure out a good dental care routine to really make your smile shine.
I was very unhappy with the way that my front teeth looked. They were crooked and stained with an ugly yellow tint. I asked my dentist if there was anything that could be done to improve them. After discussing the options with my dentist, I decided to have crowns put on my front teeth. The procedure was painless and I wish that I had done it sooner. My name is Constance Graham and I am writing this blog to inform others about cosmetic dentistry. If you don’t like the way your teeth look, speak to your dentist about improving your smile. There are various cosmetic procedures that you can have done such as veneers, crowns, teeth whitening, and dental implants. I hope you use the information in this blog to learn more about cosmetic dentistry and how it can help you.