Oral Irrigation - Yay or Nay? Part II

Written by Heather Siler

Antimicrobial Use

Oral irrigators have become increasingly popular because of their success in disturbing plaque biofilm. Furthermore, the addition of an antimicrobial to the water makes using an oral irrigator more effective. By disturbing the plaque biofilm and delivering an antimicrobial above and below the gumline, reduction in bleeding, inflammation, and periodontal pocket maintenance can be achieved. Today, we will focus on the use of antimicrobials in the water.

Types of Antimicrobials Used in an Oral Irrigator-

  • Phenolic Compounds- these over the counter rinses contain essential oils and varying other ingredients such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and fluoride which have been proven to reduce the bacteria responsible for bleeding and inflammation especially when the rinse is used full strength.
  • Stannous Fluoride- stannous fluoride is excellent in decreasing bleeding and inflammation. It’s also great for decay and tooth sensitivity when used in toothpaste.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide- hydrogen peroxide is very efficient at targeting harmful anaerobic microorganisms that thrive in pockets because it introduces oxygen into the area.
  • Chlorohexidine- a one to one ratio of water and Chlorohexidine has been shown to diminish inflammation and bleeding significantly. Chlorohexidine is only available by prescription and is the most powerful antimicrobial rinse on the market. However, simply rinsing with this product doesn’t reach more than one or two millimeters below the gumline. Its effectiveness is increased when added to the irrigator because it goes deeper subgingivally.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series as we’ll look at the types of irrigators and tips.