At Southern California Dental Health Associates we take a strong stand against gum disease. We believe that the mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body and the American Heart Association has said that gum disease is the same risk for heart disease that smoking is. There are numerous studies that link gum disease to other medical issues such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease to name a few.
As most of you know from your own personal experience having healthy gum tissue is a lot of work. One of the criteria that is used to asses a healthy mouth is the absence of bleeding when you brush, floss or softpick your mouth and that your gums do not bleed when you have your hygiene appointment. A lot of times at Southern California Dental Health Associates our hygienists are happy with getting our patient’s mouths to just show continual improvement as we view achieving dental health as a partnership between our patients and our team. The reality is that for a patient to have excellent dental health they need to have not good oral hygiene, but the best oral hygiene they can possibly have.
So with all this being said I have a little bit of an aid for you to helping achieve excellent dental health. Over the last few years I have been introduced to something called Dakin’s Solution as a rinse that can help prevent gum disease. First used during World War I, this solution was created by English chemist Henry Drysdale Dakin and is a strong wound antiseptic. The active ingredient in it is sodium hypochlorite, something you might know as bleach.
Here in Southern California, noted periodontist and educator at the USC School of Dentistry Jorgen Slots has been discussing Dakin’s solution a few times a week to help prevent gum disease. Besides being a strong antiseptic that can help kill bacteria and fungi Dakin’s solution can also help dissolve the matrix of the biofilm, the glue that holds different bacteria together and makes them more resistant to treatment.
So how do you make Dakin’s solution? The easiest way is to take bleach (yes good ole Chlorox) and dilute it 1:20. It is important to note that the bottle of bleach must be new and can only be used for 1 month after it has been opened. And how do you use it? I am currently using the solution 2 times a week, making it fresh each time and rinsing for 1 minute at a time. And yes, I can taste the bleach, but I am getting used to it.
The immediate risks of Dakin’s is redness and irritation. If these happen to you stop immediately. Serious allergic reactions are very unlikely but if you notice a rash, itching, swelling of the face/tongue or throat seek medical attention immediately.