Act, Act Restore, Act Anti-cavity

Dear Dr. Ellie:
Does it matter in your complete mouth care program if you use the Act restore or the Act anti-cavity?
Dear AVB,

I never suggest substitutions for the real deal products. In the case of ACT there are many subtle differences between it and other kinds that may look alike.

In my mind ACT contains a perfect blend of ingredients (I wish it were colorless and did not have sorbitol maybe in the future they will make a clear one unsweetened or sweetened with xylitol!) It has the perfect dilution and ACT contains sodium fluoride (this is the most stable and well tested of all fluoride compounds). What makes the original ACT so good is that it contains other special ingredients. These ingredients seem to add a “cling’ to the solution.

These so-called “inactive ingredients” seem to make it work better than sodium fluoride alone. I would always suggest ACT rinse over the stronger gels and pastes that many dentists recommend. The ingredients in ACT may work so well because they help ACT to linger long on the tooth surface in the little dips and crevices of your tooth surface. I think that rinses get the product were it needs to be better than the gels and pastes.

The longer a dilute solution of 0.05 sodium fluoride is in contact with the tooth surface, the better job it will do of strengthening and repairing your tooth. This is why you should not eat or drink after using the ACT preferably use last thing at night or at least a half hour before eating or drinking.

I tried Equate and some other “similar” products and I do not believe they will work the same.
I do not like the new Restore products either and they also contain alcohol.

My advice stick with the one we know works well. I have suggested patients use the mint ACT for decades and seen the greatest results! This is what I am my own family use all the time.
I have absolutely no affiliation with this product.

Thanks for your question,
Dental Health for Everyone!
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Uncategorized


  • LH says:

    Is the cinnamon-flavor ACT as effective as the mint?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Supposedly they are the same – but I prefer the mint.The cinnamon has ingredients that are a little different.It probably doesn’t really matter but I remain a mint supporter.Ellie

  • Anonymous says:

    So of the ACT product line, you prefer the regular ACT vs the ACT Restoring and ACT Total Care?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Yes, that is correct — I only recommend the Regular, Original ACT: (Cinnamin, Mint, and Bubblegum)

  • Nick Fitzkee says:

    Do you have any real evidence to back up why the inactive ingredients are doing something? Unfortunately, in my line of work the following statements aren't really worth much:"[they] seem to make it work better than sodium fluoride alone.""These ingredients seem to add a 'cling' to the solution."Is there any hard data that supports one fluoride rinse over another? Do you have any understanding of the chemistry of the inactive ingredients that make them perform better? I know this post sounds a little flippant, but it's frustating to find such nebulous, qualitative statements on the internet — especially, since you claim to have real credentials. Personally, I'm a biochemist, and I have no clue what the differences are. If no one can show me hard numbers, I'm going to assume there's practically no difference between any of these products. Unfortunately, your feelings don't count for much, even if you are a dentist.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi Nick,Since I am not supporting the sale of my own products – I don't care if you believe me or not.I don't care if you use my system or not.These are not my products – it would be kind of stupid for me to run an expensive clinical trial to show that the original ACT is better than any other rinse!Maybe the makers of ACT want to do this – but there is nothing in this for me.I have the suspicion that the makers of ACT prefer to sell their more "recent" formulas ( most likely these provide a better profit margin for the company)I am here to help people who have suffered years of dental problems.I have years of helping people who have never been given answers to their questions and have never found a system that works.By the way these are not feelings about what works. These are OBSERVATIONS that I noticed when working as a clinical dentist – actually a dentist that truly cared.I spent years interrogating patients about what they were using and LOOKING closely at their teeth to see what the outcome was – year after year.Go ahead and use whatever you like.How are your teeth?Ellie

  • Nick Fitzkee says:

    First, please let me apologize for being so abrasive in my last post. I let my frustration get the better of me, I was rude. I'm sorry.Second, I'm not accusing you of working for Chattem or any other distributor or manufacturer. My point was that you were making a recommendation without numbers to support it. Your experiences as a dentist are helpful, and even though they are anecdotal, I would have liked to see them in your original post (as opposed to references to 'cling'). But they're still not hard numbers. Did you keep notebooks of new cavities along with what products your patients are using? Is this stored in their charts somewhere that you can collect your experiences in to a table (not containing any PII, of course)? That would be extremely useful.People deserve good science on which to base their decisions. Humans are notoriously bad at keeping track of facts, and they often let their perceptions color reality. This is why good record keeping is essential in all areas of science, but it's also why I can't trust 100% your impressions of your practice over the years. Clearly, they're more meaningful statements from a non-dentist, but even if you're 100% sincere, there could still be holes. For example, did you ask *every* patient about their fluoride rinse habits?I'm not singling you out here. In my own line of work, lab notebooks are extremely important; not only do they keep us honest, they help us collect and process the observations so they're as accurate as possible.But ultimately, the thing that really frustrates me is Chattem is essentially selling three products with identical active ingredients with price differences of more than $2.00/bottle. On something you use every day, that adds up. I can't find a justification for what the inactive ingredients are doing *anywhere* on the web, not even on Chattem's own site. It's quite shady. In fact, this page is the only non-Chattem result that appears on google's first page; you are the only game in town when it comes to this question.Finally, although my teeth are irrelevant, I have been using a fluoride rinse for many years now and haven't had a single new cavity since I started. I've used everything from the generics to Act Total Care, and I haven't really noticed a difference. Since Act Anticavity is the cheapest product, and often the grocery store doesn't stock a generic, I generally follow your advice. I also use (regular) Listerine twice a day (in addition to flossing and brushing). But it would be nice to know if there's anything to support the claims that are made about Act Restoring and Act Total Care (or the more exensive Listerine products). If you ever come across any studies that address at this question, please look me up. To my fault, I can be overly critical at times, but I'm always interested in talking about science. And if the findings can save me money, even better!

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi Nick,Thanks for getting back to me – I am never offended.I simply don't have enough time in the day, so I have to measure how much I give "talking" with people who are NOT looking for my help or advice.I am not doing this work to boost or increase my own profit. You can go to Walgreens and get what I suggest ( although Zellies are the best form of xylitol in my opinion!! HA!)Why I do what I do!The reason that I work hard to educate people is to help them find a way to reverse or prevent dental problems.One day I will post video from the multitude of people who have been helped.I have kept their written testimonials – but these would be a lot more believable as video .My hunch ( not documented of course) is that they will have continued to use my system over all these years and years – because they love the results.This testimony may be convincing to you, I think!Until now, we only had visual critiques by dentists – who look and then notify their patients about cavities and gum disease.I write in my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye how bad these visual observations are generally.At least 60 percent of visually diagnosed fillings were not necessary in a study on this (looking and diagnosing – then extracting the teeth to check the diagnosis).Now we have better tools and bacterial diagnostics – this should help monitor EXACTLY which protocols work – and which do not!!Since a cavity takes about 6 months to repair and about one year to form – a good ( forensic-type) dentist who is looking closely for damage – should be able to alert a patient that a cavity is forming – and then give them the remineralizing tools to reverse the problem without a filling. How many dentists are doing this – do you think?It is possible that they all are, but this technique requires careful observation before cleaning teeth. It also does not provide much of a revenue stream in general practice.This is WHY I talk with the public.If you know someone who has tried to prevent cavities or gum disease – following the "traditional" routine of brushing, flossing and visiting their dentist – but are still not successful….they can be in great stress and trouble. This is where I come in. To help them find a comfortable solutions – to help them save their oral health.I will probably not be worrying too much about convincing you – and it is great that you don't have any problems.I wish you oral health! I suggest you help me spread the word about what IS IMPORTANT. We need the public to learn that oral health has a direct impact on general health – diabetes, risk for stroke, heart attack, arthritis etc…They need to know that healthy teeth are not a luxury – they are essential for whole body health.Check out our new organization at http://www.AAOSH.orgThanks again for your message,Best Wishes,EllieDr.Ellie Phillips DDSSolutions for Oral Healthwww.DrEllie.comDr

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