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Spec Care Dentist. 1996 Nov-Dec;16(6):247-50.

Hospital mouth-cleaning aids may cause dental erosion.

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  • 1Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Maintaining satisfactory oral health in bed-ridden patients often calls for special aids, such as moistened cotton swabs. The purpose of this in vitro study was to investigate three commercially available swabsticks meant for hospital use (Dentiswab, Lemon-Glycerin Swabsticks, and Lemon Glycerine Swabs), and one saliva-stimulant chewing tablet (Cassisal), regarding their possible erosive effects on dental enamel. A bovine enamel model system was used. Specimens were incubated for 4 hours in the test solutions made of the products. The results showed statistically significant enamel softening caused by two of the cotton swabs (Lemon-Glycerin Swabsticks and Lemon Glycerine Swabs). Incubation in the solutions made of Dentiswab cotton swabs and Cassisal tablets caused only minimal changes in microhardness. Profilometric measurements supported these results. Stereomicroscopy and SEM showed distinct erosion in specimens treated with the lemon swab solution, while the other two did not cause erosion. Thus, attention should be focused on choosing the less erosive products if special mouth-cleaning aids are used.

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