Which product is best for my precious bodily fluids?
March 2, 2009 2:11 AM   Subscribe

Act fluoride rinse has three products and all of them contain a sole active ingredient in the same proportions (the smaller bottle has double the amount, but I think it's because the dose they recommend is half as much as the larger). I can see the angle on the Kids brand what with a bubble gummy taste and all but, other than marketing, I can't tell how other two are different. What gives?

Are there more active ingredients in the Restoring version that, due to ADA or FDA regulations, Act is not allowed to list? Or do all of these formulations do the same thing and differ only in taste and price?
posted by Tacodog to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like it's down to their definition of an 'active' ingredient. Obviously the germ-killing and remineralizing ingredients are present in one mouthwash but not in the other. Whether they're allowed to do that I have no idea (I would suspect they are allowed), but there may be regulations that state that fluoride content must be listed. And of course one product is alcohol-free.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:16 AM on March 2, 2009

I can see the angle on the Kids brand what with a bubble gummy taste and all but, other than marketing, I can't tell how other two are different. What gives?

If you think that two hard-to-tell-apart toothcare products are a lot, take a look at Colgate's toothpaste selection.

I guess my point is: If a tooth care company decided that having a wide range of products with little to tell them apart was a good business plan, they wouldn't be the first.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:46 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: As best as I can tell, the main difference is the alcohol content and possible irritants (such as menthol). But, if a chemist or dentist shows up, here are the full ingredients for both:

flouride rinse
Sodium Fluoride (0.05%) (0.02% w/v fluoride ion)
Calcium Disodium EDTA, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Disodium Phosphate, Flavor, FD&C Green 3, Menthol, Methyl Salicylate, Poloxamer 407, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol, Water, FD&C Yellow 5

restoring mouthwash
Sodium Fluoride (0.05%) (0.02% w/v Fluoride Ion)
Water, Alcohol (11%), Sorbitol, Poloxamer 407, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Saccharin, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Disodium Phosphate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Blue 1
posted by Houstonian at 2:51 AM on March 2, 2009

I always heard that the alcohol-free versions were sold to recovering alcoholics (and other folks who don't touch alcohol for whatever reason.) As Houstonian mentioned, conventional mouthwash has a fair amount of alcohol in it, and apparently mouthwash consumption is not an uncommon method of backsliding.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:50 AM on March 2, 2009

From what I've read, the alcohol in mouthwashes dries your mouth out, making your breath worse after the "mintyness" has worn off.
posted by orme at 5:07 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: According to the FAQ the restoring rinse contains more alcohol to boost its antimicrobial activity; the cetylpyridinium chloride is also an antimicrobial agent. The addition of germ killers is the main difference between the two; the ACT web site also mentions that restore also helps prevent demineralization of the enamel, but I am guessing that is a secondary benefit of its antibacterial activity, as bacterial action is what causes enamel loss in most cases. The antibacterial activity might also help with gum disease if that is a problem. I use an antibacteral mouthwash to prevent gum disease as it has been a problem for me in the past, but regular flossing is more important.
posted by TedW at 5:34 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: What Mike1024 said--part of the decision may have been made by the marketing department. Maximizing your shelf space and minimizing your competitors, and creating an impression of choice and plenty when the selection is controlled by a few big companies selling a million permutations of a basic product, is standard practice in this biz. A walk down the laundry detergent, breakfast cereal, cola or paperback aisles will make clear.
posted by box at 5:47 AM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I recently asked my dentist about picking a fluoride rinse. She says that they're almost all made by the same company, they're all equal, and you should go with the flavor you like. (She recommended Tom's of Maine's rinse for me, but that might have been because I told her I use their toothpaste.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:18 AM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the replies. I guess alcohol doesn't need to be added as an active ingredient.

I'm kinda crazy about all things dental. Brush twice a day, floss at night, all brushing followed by an antiseptic then a fluoride rinse (knockoff house brands for each). The Act Restoring thing is what interested me but the only enamel-building chemical I know of is that stuff that's in Trident White and some other less-known-in-the-US toothpastes and I didn't see it listed on the bottle.

Thanks again for all your help!
posted by Tacodog at 9:41 AM on March 2, 2009

For what it's worth, my dentist recommended the ACT rinse without alcohol for my fragile set of chompers.
posted by liverbisque at 12:33 PM on March 2, 2009

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