Disclosure: We value transparency at Today’s RDH. This article is sponsored content from OraCare as part of our sponsored partner program.
If you treat patients and wear a face shield, you know why pre-rinsing is important. On your shield, you will see evidence of the aerosol of a high-speed handpiece, but it is what you don’t see that will harm you. In the air and on your skin and clothes are dangerous microbes (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that came from your patient’s mouth. These microbes can cause infections, diseases, and even death. Our goal should be to eliminate or at least minimize the microbes before you treat the patient.
To prevent cross-contamination or exposure to the dental professional, pre-rinsing should be the standard of care for every dental procedure. Infection control of the operatory should not be the only reason for pre-rinsing. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and especially bacteria toxins, volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), can cause disease, infection and delayed healing in the oral cavity.
Also, dental plaque (biofilm), linked bacteria, can attach viruses that can make sterilization of the oral cavity very challenging. Because of these reasons, there is no vigorous debate about the fact that we should be Pre-rinsing every patient. The real debate is what is the best product to use? As we know, it is not just bacteria that is harmful but also viruses, fungi, and Biofilm. We must choose a product that has the ability to kill all these types microbes.
At the most recent ADA convention, 134 dental professionals were asked if they Pre-rinsed their patients and if yes with what. Less 10% said they rinsed all or nearly all their patients and only an additional 22% said they Pre-rinsed some of their patients. The most common products used were Listerine or Chlorhexidine. When asked why most stated because they kill germs/bacteria and also because it’s what they used in dental school. Listerine and Chlorhexidine indeed do kill bacteria but they are a poor virus and less effective fungi eliminators. Listerine and Chlorhexidine also are weak Biofilm degraders.
One product, which touts pre-rinsing to dental professionals, is OraCare by Dentist Select. The reason they feel they have the perfect product for pre-rinsing is that OraCare’s active ingredient, Chlorine Dioxide kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and breaks up biofilm. They also have university studies to back up your their claims.
Kills Bacteria and Fungi
Substances of organic nature in bacterial cells react with chlorine dioxide, causing several cellular processes to be interrupted. Chlorine dioxide reacts directly with amino acids and the RNA in the cell. It is not clear whether chlorine dioxide attacks the cell structure or the acids inside the cell. The production of proteins is prevented. Chlorine dioxide affects the cell membrane by changing membrane proteins and fats and by prevention of cell inhalation.
In a University of Iowa study on inhibition of bacterial growth. The OraCare was capable of inhibiting growth of all bacterial species tested in an MIC assay: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis, Streptococcus mutans, Prevotella intermedia, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia, Treponema socranskii, and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. In addition, Oracare inhibited the growth of Candida albicans.
World-renowned microbiologist Dr. John Thomas of West Virginia University studied OraCare and stated that in his 30 years of research, he never tested anything that killed fungi better than OraCare.
You may wonder how ClO2 kills viruses since they are thousands of times smaller than other organisms. It kills them in a different way than it kills other organisms. Both viruses and the entire body are constructed mostly of protein (and water). The body creates tens of thousands of special proteins for various jobs – it grows by forming proteins in organs and tissues such as muscles.
Each body part requires a number of different proteins and viruses depend on some of these proteins for their growth. It so happens that these special proteins cannot form in the presence of chlorine dioxide – their formation is prevented by the oxidation electrical potential that chlorine dioxide exerts on its immediate environment. The chemical reaction prevents the growth of the special proteins that make up the viruses, and eventually when the virus cannot grow, it dies.
Breaking up Biofilm
Chlorine dioxide remains gaseous in solution. The chlorine dioxide molecule is powerful and has the ability to go through the entire system. Chlorine dioxide can penetrate the slime layers of bacteria, because chlorine dioxide easily dissolves, even in hydrocarbons and emulsions.
Chlorine dioxide oxidizes the polysaccharide matrix that keeps the biofilm together. During this reaction, chlorine dioxide is reduced to chlorite ions. These are divided up into pieces of biofilm that remain steady. In municipal water pipe systems, when the biofilm starts to grow again, an acid environment is formed and the chlorite ions are transformed into chlorine dioxide. This chlorine dioxide removes the remaining biofilm.
A study done at West Virginia stated that OraCare was one of the best products ever tested for the elimination of biofilm. Chlorine dioxide is being used by over 1,000 cities to purify their water and one of the main reasons is its ability to break up biofilm.
For your health and your patients, pre-rinsing is a must. Also, make sure you use a product that reduces all the microbes not just bacteria.