How to choose the right mouth rinse

We’vemouthwash_87709747 all been there. Walking down the aisle of the pharmacy and seeing one too many mouth rinses’ to choose from. They all promise to protect your teeth, make your pearly whites whiter, and make your breath the freshest it can be. So, how do you know which one is right for you?

There are three major categories of mouth rinses – fluoride mouth rinses, anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses, and cosmetic and therapeutic mouth rinse products.

Fluoride mouth rinses

You never stop needing fluoride, and the truth is most people don’t get enough. Did you know that 85% of all adults experience tooth decay? Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by helping your body strengthen your teeth enamel, which is the protective white layer that covers your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste can help with tooth decay, but fluoride toothpaste doesn’t help everyone.

Some fluoride toothpastes actually dry out the mouths of some consumers, so people with dry mouths might find a fluoride mouth rinse is a better fit for them. “Severe dry mouth can lead to a change in the bacterial balance of your mouth, while too much bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay,” says Michelle Henshaw, DDS, MPH and assistant dean for community partnerships and extramural affairs at Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. “Fluoride mouth rinses can help prevent these problems.”

If you are not using a fluoride toothpaste, you might want to start using a fluoride mouth rinse to see if you like it. Talk with your dentist if you have any questions.

Anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses 

According to the American Dental Association, anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, antibacterial, antimicrobial or chemotherapeutic mouth rinses reduce bacterial count and inhibit bacterial activity that can cause gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease.

It is a good idea for adults to use this kind of mouth rinse. “Although brushing and flossing are the key components of good oral health, we don’t always do as good a job with these tasks as we should. Anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis mouth rinses can give a boost to your dental care habits by killing potentially damaging bacteria,” said Henshaw.

Mouth rinse to freshen your breath 

Many mouth rinses are available for you that make your breath smell nice and fresh, however, they don’t offer any long-term dental health benefits.

Cosmetic mouth rinses may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave your mouth feeling nice and fresh; however, they don’t deal with the underlying cause of why you have the bad breath. They don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath or chemically inactivate odor causing compounds. Also, none of the cosmetic mouth rinses helps reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.

If I can give you any advice when choosing a mouth rinse, its choose a mouth rinse product that has the ADA seal of approval. For a complete list of ADA approved mouth rinses click here.

The office of Dr. Shane McDowell is here to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have dealing with any oral health concerns you may be having. Please call 239-936-0597 or visit to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDowell and his excellent staff today.

Treating patients like people…

The title of this article might seem a bit obvious. Who wouldn’t treat their patients like people? However, judging by how many patients fear the dentist chair, many professionals are missing the mark.

Dentists and their staff naturally become desensitized to the situations they encounter every single day, and it takes a concerted effort to recognize what causes patients anxiety and discomfort so we can ease their fears and, of course, minimize pain.

Part of our job as professionals is to get to know our patients and to be sensitive to their individual needs. We make an effort to read between the lines, paying attention to tone of voice, body language and other signs a patient is uncomfortable. We encourage patients to open up so they feel more at ease going into any procedure.

Also, everyone experiences pain differently so we give patients every opportunity for feedback and pay attention to signs they are feeling discomfort. One patient, Kristin Dubrasky of Fort Myers said, “I appreciate Dr. McDowell’s step-by-step explanation during exams and procedures. He walks patients through the process paying close attention to body language to make sure the experience is as comfortable and pleasant as possible. His staff is always attentive as well. Believe it or not, they make me want to come to the dentist!”

That is exactly how we want all of our patients to feel! We are here to take care of you and will always be sensitive to your needs.

For more patient testimonials, visit

What do you like most about your smile?

lady smilingEver look at a photo of yourself and think “I wish….” Well, when it comes to your smile, your wish is our command.  Schedule an appointment with us for a Smile Makeover – just tell us what you would like to change, and we’ll discuss the options with you. Here are some of the cosmetic dentistry services we provide to help patients love their smile more:

Invisalign – straighter teeth without the use of braces

Crowns – protect and restore damaged teeth

Tooth colored fillings – fillings that blend with the natural color of your teeth

Bridges – replace missing teeth

Veneers – cover severely stained or damaged teeth

Teeth whitening – restore the teeth’s healthy youthful color

Schedule your appointment for a consultation for your personal Smile Makeover today or visit for more information on cosmetic dentistry and the individual procedures listed above.

What to do in a Dental Emergency?

This time of year, you might be wondering what to do if you have a dental emergency while our offices are closed for the holidays, or after hours any time of year. We are proud to serve your emergency dental needs – just call our emergency number at 239-936-0597 when the office is closed.

Holiday closures to plan for – Closed: Dec. 22, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013

Avoiding an emergency
Indulging in a candy cane or popcorn might seem innocent enough, but be careful of these dental offenders. Items such as hard candy, popcorn kernels and ice can all damage teeth. Also, avoid using your teeth to cut tape or remove tags from those new gifts. It may seem convenient, but it is not worth ruining your holiday. Always wear a mouth guard while playing sports or doing any activities that could harm teeth as well.

Home care tips
Sometimes you can temporarily care for an emergency at home with a few simple items such as temporary fillings, a dental mirror, sterile gauze and pain relievers. Make sure you have these on hand in case an emergency happens when stores are closed. If you are not sure what to get, there are a variety of emergency dental kids on the market. Remember, pain is a signal something is wrong so even if the pain subsides make an appointment for an examination as soon as possible.

Emergency tips
Whatever your dental emergency, if you can’t manage the pain or stop bleeding on your own, always go to the emergency room. Here are a few emergency tips from the American Dental Association ( for handling issues that may or may not require an emergency room visit:

Lost tooth – If your tooth has been knocked out, hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it is dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and seek immediate care by calling our emergency phone number or go to the emergency room. Remember to bring your tooth with you!

Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food or other debris caught between teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it can burn gum tissue. Contact us as soon as possible.

Bitten lip or tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. Again, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the emergency room.

Broken tooth – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and use cold compresses to reduce swelling. Call us for an appointment as soon as possible.

Cracked tooth – Avoid chewing food on that side of your mouth and contact us as soon as possible.

Broken jaw – If you have possibly broken your jaw, apply cold compresses to control swelling and go to the emergency room immediately.

Foreign objects stuck in teeth – If you can’t gently remove the object with dental floss, call us as soon as possible. Never use sharp objects and avoid cutting the gums with floss.

Contact us today by calling (239) 936-0597 to schedule your next dental visit or to speak to one of our experienced dental staff.

Turn To Dr. Shane McDowell for Your General Dentistry Needs

Dr. Shane McDowell

Trust your dental health to Dr. Shane McDowell for all your dental care needs, from examinations and cleanings to restorative procedures such as root canals, extractions and gum treatments. Dr. McDowell and his team provide the full array of dental care services with special attention to your comfort and health.

  • Root Canals
  • Gum Treatment
  • Partials
  • Dentures
  • Extractions
  • Tooth Decay
  • Bad Breath
  • Oral Cancer
  • Nutrition and Oral Health