ACT & Closys Q & A

Since ACT coats the teeth, is it better not to use it until bedtime to allow the xylitol to be able to penetrate the teeth during the day?

The dilute sodium fluoride in ACT works “as a catalyst”. This means it helps move minerals(from your saliva) into the outer surface of tooth enamel. This building of minerals into the tooth will continue only for as long as the liquid is in contact with the tooth.

ACT does not stop other liquids reaching the tooth. The reason for using ACT last thing at night is that a residue will remain “working” on your teeth while you are sleeping.

Do you know how long xylitol coats the teeth?

This process is not about “coating” teeth. Xylitol works by raising the pH of the mouth. At this alkaline pH, minerals go into the tooth surface. How long the mouth will stay at this alkaline pH will depend on your natural saliva pH.

If we look at a lady with an acidic saliva (pH around 5.5). She may eat some xylitol and make her mouth alkaline. Her teeth will mineralize in this alkaline medium. Now her acidic saliva will return and wash away the alkaline xylitol liquids in her mouth.

Gradually her mouth will return to a pH of 5.5 which is acidic enough to dissolve away minerals from her teeth again.

If the patient was a young man with alkaline saliva, the results would be different. His natural saliva is alkaline and so the mouth would remain alkaline.

Doesn’t fluoride get absorbed into the bloodstream sublingually?

ACT is very dilute sodium fluoride. Sodium fluoride is the most stable and most tested of any fluoride compound. You rinse with about a half ounce at a 0.05% concentration. You will spit out almost all of this rinse – leaving just a minute residue.

I do agree that some minute amount of that could be absorbed, but unless you have kidney problems our bodies excrete 98% of fluoride absorbed. I would argue that this poses such a tiny risk compared with other dental toxicity concerns.

Personally I would be more concerned about the toxic effects of plaque. The toxicity of fillings, having filling repairs or the need for sealants etc.

Since Closys washes off right away, how does it heal periodontal pocketing?

A small experiment will describe how it works: Get some dirt and rub it into your hands and under your cuticles.

Wash your hands with water and the dirt will probably remain under your cuticles. Now use some Closys and work it round your fingers. Wash your hands this time and notice how clean they are under the cuticles.

Closys seems to “lift” the dirt away from the spaces between the gums and the teeth in the same way. I think this is mainly a mechanical action.

This is why brushing after the “lift” has occurred is (in my opinion) the best way to use Closys as a Cleanser.

I often joke with people that I treat teeth like skin: you cleanse, tone and moisturize.
–>Closys is the cleanser.
–>Listerine is the toner.
–>ACT is the moisturizer.

(c) 2009 Ellie Phillips, DDS

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