Sealants: Embrace WetBond
Properly placing sealants on active pediatric patients can be extremely challenging, but sealants can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay. Embrace WetBond is a unique moisture-tolerant and resin-based pit and fissure sealant material. (2) The sealant material has bioactive properties that allow the sealant to respond to changes in the oral environment. Furthermore, the sealant forms a strong resin-hydroxyapatite bond that prevents microleakage. (3)
Interproximal care: Flosstime
Flosstime is an automated floss dispenser with a modern look that adheres to the bathroom mirror. Equipped with a notification light, the device lights up with an orange frown when the patient does not floss and lights up with a blue smile when the patient does. Fun animal shapes easily clip onto the device to increase patient engagement. The device comes ready to use with two cartridges of floss, a floss holder, two batteries, adhesive backing, and animal shapes. (4) Programmable for multiple users, the device reminds and encourages both patients and parents to floss.
pH-balanced rinse: Closys
Closys is a gentle rinse with powerful benefits. The rinse is free of gluten, alcohol, dyes, sulfates, and triclosan. The mild mint and unflavored rinses are nonburning—if you can rinse with water, you can rinse with it. Cloralstan is the patented ingredient found in Closys that contains stabilized chlorine dioxide and kills 99.9% of bacteria in 10 seconds, which eliminates bad breath instead of covering it up. (5) The pH-balanced rinse helps prevent and alleviate symptoms of oral lesions, such as aphthous ulcers found in patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. Closys Silver offers the same gentle, pH-balanced formula with fluoride to further protect the patient from tooth decay.
Therapeutic mints, gum, and paste: Spry
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that has been proven to effectively moisturize tissues and prevent bacteria from adhering and multiplying. (6) Spry offers a wide variety of products that can be used throughout the day, even on the go. Implementing a program that exposes the oral cavity to xylitol five times daily has been shown to decrease the risk of tooth decay. This can be as simple as chewing a piece of gum or a mint after a snack or meal. Mouth breathers can benefit from implementing the Xlear nasal spray daily, as the xylitol helps clear nasal and sinus congestion to increase nose breathing. Additionally, xylitol tooth eruption gel and a "chew-proof" toothbrush can enable parents to improve oral care at home.
Treating pediatric patients provides a unique opportunity for dental hygienists to build a strong foundation for preventive oral health with both patient and parent. Proper evaluation of the child’s risk factors, such as medical history, diet, and brushing techniques, will enable the dental hygienist to recommend the appropriate preventive tools. The products listed above have changed the oral health of my patients.