Q&A with Dr. Ellie: Fluoride Mouthwash in Canada

Every month Dr. Ellie Phillips will answer your oral health questions as part of the Ultimate Oral Health Guide.


Q: Hi Dr Ellie, How important is it to get a fluoride mouthwash that’s contains 0.05% sodium fluoride rather than a weaker solution.The reason for asking is that here in Montreal I used to be able to get an Oral-B fluoride rinse (active ingredients cetylpyridinium chloride monohydrate 0.05% and sodium fluoride 0.05%) but this has now been discontinued.  There was a recall by the manufacturer in July of last year and now my online supplier no longer carries it.I haven’t been any to find Fluoriguard but I was able to find this.

Crest Pro-Health Complete with Fluoride alcohol free  … but it’s only got 0.021% Sodium fluoride.

Please let me know what you think.  If it’s sub-optimal, I’ll just have to head down to Plattsburgh 🙂

Many thanks for your great website and taking the time to disseminate such useful information.




Hi K,

Thanks for your message.

I have always recommended 0.05% because I know that this solution will work.

When you go weaker – it MAY work but I think I have to suggest trying to get the correct concentration.

Best regards,

Dr. Ellie


For more information, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:

Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more
Zellies.com – learn more & order your Zellies Xylitol & the Complete Mouth Care System
Dr. Ellie.com – a great resource for learning more about oral health & Dr. Ellie

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

Categories: Q&A with Dr. Ellie

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  • M says:

    Hi K (and Dr. Ellie),I share your pain here in Toronto! The Oral-B line in Canada used to have 2 alcohol free 0.05% sodium fluoride rinses – one just called a dental rinse and the second claimed "with antibacterial". Both were subject to a recall last summer and then the one "with antibacterial" reappeared in the stores a month or so later. Oral-B also has the "Fluorinse" line – the blue one is 0.05% sodium fluoride, the green is 0.2% – but they have alcohol.I started with the dental rinse, then moved to Fluorinse 0.05% when the recall occurred. I really didn't like the drying effects of the alcohol, so when the "with antibacterial" reappeared, I tried that. I preferred it to the Fluorinse .05%, but found it a bit harsh. Then "with antibacterial" disappeared again from the store shelves in December. I agonized over what to do and in desperation I decided to try the green Fluorinse 0.2% and dilute it with water to get it down to 0.05% (one part rinse plus 3 parts water). It diluted the alcohol, so it is much less drying than the 0.05% one. I have had fabulous results since using the diluted green Fluorinse. I am really pleased.One other thing to note is that earlier this year (I think January?) Dr. Ellie posted some comments regarding only using the fluoride rinse for a maximum one minute immediately after the Listerine. Prior to this, I had thought that it was better to keep the fluoride rinse in contact with the teeth for a longer period and regularly rinsed for 3 to 5 minutes. After this posting, I now do the max one minute for each rinse. I am not sure how much of the improvement in the appearance of my teeth is due to this change and how much is due to the diluted green Fluorinse being a "better fit" for the chemistry of the system. Whichever it is, I am very pleased. I am even seeing craze lines in the enamel of my teeth begin to heal. Other than the difficulties finding the fluoride rinse component, I follow the system exactly. Thanks so much for sharing it with us Dr. Ellie!

  • Pat says:

    Dear Dr. Ellie,

    I live in Canada and very recently started using your system of ultimate oral health care. Similar to other Canadian comments, it is difficult to obtain the recommended products of your regiment. For instance, it is my understanding that Rowpar Pharmaceuticals did not renew its license in Canada and thus CloSYS is not available for distribution in Canada. ACT, again, is not a product that I have had success locating.

    However, I am still using your system but using a couple of alternative products to see … well, for a lack of better explanation … “how things go”.

    With that said, I would like be interested in seeing if I could trouble you for any comments you might have with respect to the pre-brush rinse I am using (“CDLx System” by Oravital) and the flouride rinse (“Crest Pro-Health For Me”).

    CDLx’s ingredients are as follows (as specified on the container): purified water, xylitol, sodium citrate, polysorbate 20, spearmint flavour, sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, zinc acetate, sodium saccharin, sodium chlorite, Cl 42090/blue 1.

    “Crest Pro-Health For Me” ingredients: Medicinal ingredient — Sodium Flouride 0.021% w/w (0.0095% w/w flouride ion). Non-Medicinal ingredients — water, glycerin, propylene glycol, poloxamer 407, phosphoric acid, polysorbate 80, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, mint flavour, sodium saccharin, disodium phosphate, green 3.

    Lastly — thank you for all your work on this! I am truly amazed by your generousity in sharing your time, knowledge and deep experience with respect to improving one’s oral health … I don’t know how you do it!

    Sincerely yours,

    • Here are some previous blog posts about products in Canada – I’m not sure if they are still relevant or helpful: http://ultimateoralhealthguide.com/category/canada.

      I discussed the product CDLx on a post on Jan 5th which you can scroll down and read here
      On the other hand, I think you have to work with what you have available – and only time will tell us if this works or not.

      I did not invent the system of oral care that I recommend. I noticed results over many, many years. I suggested things and looked at the outcomes. Feedback and input from our Canadian followers will be vital for us to learn. Please keep in touch and communicate to let us know the results you get after 6 months, 1 year etc. etc.

      • Pat says:

        Thank you so much for your reply …. yes, I will definitely let you know of my progress! And if I am ever in Rochester … I will make a point of visiting one its famous tooth-friendly restaurants.

        Kind regards,

  • Aaron says:

    Yes, it’s hard getting the right products in Canada. I need to try some other products as my gum recession is getting worse. I’ll see what I can find from what others here are trying.

    • We do ship to Canada from our website http://www.Zellies.com – so at least get some Zellies mints, gum or Polar Bears to help you!
      Gum recession usually is a red flag indicating too much mouth dryness or mouth acidity – so check your drinks, snacks and habits. Sparkling or flavored waters are acidic usually. Try to drink at mealtimes as much as possible and use xylitol after every meal.
      Be aware that baking soda can really aggravate gum recession – even if it is dissolved in water.
      I spoke to someone yesterday who was drinking distilled water – and I cautioned her that this can be aggressive on teeth.
      You should manage to find the products you need for success – the Fluoriguard seems to replace ACT quite well – and the important Crest Cavity Protection paste I think is available now. Keep in touch and we can try and we’d love to hear the end of your story when you make changes.

      • Pat says:


        I have been using Dr. Ellie’s hygiene regimen for 10 months and have noticed marked improvement. Although the ACT Fluoride rinse is not available in Canada, I have tried another rinse from Germaphene Corporation called Oro-NaF … its great (but a little more costly — best way to order it is through your dental office according to the company). What I like about it: it contains no sorbitol or colouring agents and comes in 5% sodium fluoride format … also, its Citrus Mint flavour can’t be beat in my opinion. For my xylitol, I order online from Xylitol Canada (www.xylitolcanada.com) — can’t beat the price and it offers 100% birch derived xylitol products (mints, gums, candies, bulk xylitol, etc.) — shipping is incredibly fast and affordable. The toothpaste you can get here no problem and same with Listerine (although, the no-name product at Loblaws contains the exact same ingredients with minor variation in % composition, so I don’t hesitate using it). Closys, yes, I have to go to the States to pick it up. With that said, I have also used something call CDLx, which I can say hasn’t had any adverse affects as far as I can tell … but I think the Closys is probably superior.

        At my last dental appointment (6 months after starting the regimen), my “gaps” in my gums have become a non-issue, and my teeth look brighter and feel stronger. Plaque … well, I think I have virtually eliminated it from my teeth. All thanks to Dr. Ellie.

        Kind regards,

        • This is an encouraging letter for anyone who lives in a place (or country) where the products we suggest are not easily available. We never know if “substitute” products will give good results – so it’s great to have letters like this one!

          My goal is to empower and help everyone – wherever they live – to enjoy perfect oral health, avoid dental problems, and never need unpleasant dental treatments. As shipping to other countries becomes easier, we hope to send Zellies mints and gum Internationally. We believe Zellies offer superior benefits over many other xylitol products.

          Zellies now ships to Canada and there is a website called myUS.com that ships internationally. We hope more people will contemplate the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System and let us know about their improvisations and outcomes. We love the idea of being a world wide community!
          Here is a link to the shipping website mentioned:

          • Pat says:

            I should mention that my preference is to follow Dr. Ellie’s regimen (so on the occasion I am in the U.S., I make a point of purchasing ACT and Closys).

            I also recommend getting Dr. Ellie’s book … I purchased it and now have my sister and brother on the regimen — my brother was particularly interested because of the lack of dental coverage by his employer.

            The section in her book on children I found particular good. I have introduced xylitol into the diet of my kids (ages 4 and 6) — and I it has been going on for 8 months now. I try to give them a gum (1 g of xylitol) or a mint (0.5 g of xylitol) after breakfast and dinner, and before they go to bed after brushing their teeth. I do try to sprinkle a little into their juice/milk, water, jam on their bread, apple sauce, yogurts, etc. whenever the opportunity presents itself — I am trying to get them about 4 grams a day. I am also attempting to get them to rinse with a much watered-down version of ACT, although I would like them to get the benefit of some fluoride (unfortunately they rinse for about 5 seconds and then they decide they want a drink of water before going to bed), but more for them to get them into a routine of rinsing before bed (hopefully, if I do it now it will develop into a long-term normal routine for them).

            The above routine really got reinforced when I met the dad of one my daughter’s classmates in the morning at her school and told me that his little one just came back from the dentist with three fillings. It killed me to hear that … poor little guy! And the little guy even showed me his fillings … drilling at that age … man-o-man! The following week, I tried to plant the seed by asking the dad if he ever heard of xylitol … then I took the opportunity to talk to him a little bit about it. I don’t anything came of it, but I thought of actually mentioning it to the principle of the school … in any event, I made a point of handing out xylitol-only treats for Halloween (packs of gum, along with a little flyer on xylitol). I figure most parents check the treats of their little ones and if I “reached” one parent, then it was worth it!

            Thanks again Dr. Ellie!!

  • gj says:

    fyi, Closys is available in Canada at amazon.ca probably other places as well.

    I have found Oro-Naf at a local pharmacy on the shelf in Canada as well as online.

    • Pat says:

      Just an fyi as well. You can purchase Closys directly from the company as well. And they are good at customer service and desire repeat business. I have to admit, I no longer use Closys as part of my regimen. For me, the cost-benefit ratio of the product could not be justified.

      • If you no longer use Closys be aware of two important things. 1) Consider mouth pH as you start brushing. If your mouth is acidic – after drinking wine, tea etc – then you need to find a way to pH stabilize your mouth before you begin to brush. If you ignore this – it is easy to strip away part of the outer enamel.
        2) Consider periodontal pathogens – the really bad gum bacteria that live in “pockets” around teeth. Closys safely deals with these pathogens, without disrupting the healthy bacteria of the mouth. Closys creates oxygen in the pockets. Harmful bacteria of periodontal disease are anaerobic – and hate oxygen! This why you don’t “feel” anything – but believe me, this is an amazing rinse. I use it as an insurance against periodontal pathogens – the ones that are involved in chronic general health problems – cardiovascular disease, dementia, arthritis etc. To assess the true value of oral health, we must consider our entire body and assess savings. This changes the cost value of a simple daily mouth rinse!

  • George Kelly says:

    I live in Edmonton Canada and have problems with sensitivity and gum recession. Like others I am having trouble finding the fluoride rinse. Fluoride is added to our municipal water supply… would a rinse after mouthwash with tap water be sufficient or is the fluoride solution necessary. If so would a lower concentration be adequate if unable to find the 5% sodium fluoride solution.

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