Pros: Nice flavor, okay packaging
Cons: blue everywhere!
Do you remember being in elementary school and getting a visit from the dentist? You know, this nice lady would come visit, pass out toothbrushes, tell you the importance of taking care of your teeth, and do a fun "experiment" with turning your teeth colors so you could see the plaque?
Well that's exactly what this product, Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids is! It's a rinse to determine which areas of your teeth need the most attention when brushing. The idea behind it is that this product, once swished in the mouth for 30 seconds, leaves behind colored deposits ... and the darker the color the more you need to brush!
Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids comes in a 16.9 oz plastic bottle that is clear, filled with dark blue liquid inside. The label is large and contains a lot of information and marketing about the product and its use. The top has a twist off cap and built-in 10 ml dispenser. The "flavor" is Secret Blue Bubble Gum (so bubble gum). The product plans to cost between $3 and $4.
To use the directions state to remove the lid and lightly squeeze the bottle until the dispenser is filled to the 10 ml marking. It is marked well (much like a typical liquid medicine cup dispenser) and easy to squeeze. The blue liquid quickly fills the cup and settles easily to the correct marking.
Then you take the measured liquid into your mouth, swish for 30 seconds, and spit out. Then you smile real big and look for all the colorings on your teeth.
It is marketed for children ages 6 - 12, though older children and adults could use it as well. I feel the age range is given at the 6 year old level because that's when children might be able to follow the steps, and enjoy the flavor. At age 12 children may think the bubble gum flavor and packaging too childish and go on to other things. The packaging has a cartoonish-ly dressed character on it - a character designed by the company and not something readily familiar to children. It's still an effective product I think for any age 6 and above though.
This product is marketed as a "pre-brush rinse" - so it will highlight the areas of the teeth that plaque has built up on the most. I really liked that idea as a parent ... in theory.
Both my 7 year old son and I tried this on multiple occassions. For the purpose of this review we tried it longer than I actually would have if I had bought it myself (3 days). Honestly, if it were a product I had purchased I'd have thrown it away after the first use.
So the blue bubble gum scented stuff gets squeezed out into the dispenser cap. You could then tilt the bottle and squish it into your mouth directly - but if multiple people are using this that's not very sanitary (and not recommended in the literature). So now you need a separate cup to dispense it. Heck, we were lazy, so my son and I just shared it right from the packaging. He was able, at 7 years old, to squeeze and use this by himself.
He was also able to hold it in his mouth and "swish" it back and forth for 30 seconds. It took him a long time to "sip" it all in his mouth.
Then we got to the spitting it out part.
Blue went everywhere. All over the sink. At first I thought it was just him - but it did when I used it too. (As a note, the related "pink" mouthwash they also make did not have this issue, so I really think it was the blue coloring). My sink was bright white and I freaked about the potential staining. But the blue did rinse away - but I really did have to rinse out my entire sink afterward after each use of this stuff.
And then it all started dribbling down his mouth and onto his chin. What was the deal?
See even though he spit it all out (or at least tried to), it kind of coats the teeth (which I guess is the point). But it makes this sort of weird effect - imagine if you will when someone throws a bucket of paint onto a wall; you know how the paint will slowly ooze down the surface? Well that's the best way I can describe the effect of Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids on the teeth. Some of the coloring clung to the teeth, but some seemed to pool off into his gums, lips, etc. Quickly a grabbed toilet paper as a way to prevent it staining his clothes (I didn't dare grab a hand towel), and we wiped up what we could. We both tried to see his "blue" teeth, but by then he was sort of traumatized with the experience. Quickly I tried the product as well so that I could show him mine. I had the same "leaky" issues, and we tried to peek at each others colored teeth while we were feverishly loading on toothpaste and trying to stop the leaks going down our faces.
Then to the brushing.
Now the coloring is sort of blending in with the toothpaste, the spit, you name it. Not only is it going everywhere and bleeding off the teeth, the coloring is going all over the toothbrush and bristles ... so I had 2 more things to clean blue out of. I should mention also it turns your tongue blue. Great. Just what I need. So then I had to brush it all off of there as well.
Yes, all the blue came off, but this had already added more minutes than I cared to count to our brushing routine. And really all the blue didn't come off until we used the mouthwash rinse after the brushing.
We tried the Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids a few more times, both of us. My 7 year old wasn't as freaked the other times, since he knew what to expect, but he totally did not get the point of doing it ... and the mess. And I think he sensed my frustration of blue going everywhere. Honestly, I didn't get the point of it all either and I was done with the whole idea after the first time we even tried it.
He did not ever think it "cool" that his teeth were turning colors - and he even told me to mention (I told him we were trying it to tell the company how it was) that, "it's not even really blue Mom on my teeth, it keeps looking kind of green!". He was right - the blue, though dark in the bottle, was sort of an odd color on the teeth.
I get the idea behind the product - highlighting areas kids especially need to concentrate on with brushing. I think the idea is innovative and I appreciate a company wanting to help us take care of our kids. I understand the seriousness of the lack of dental care in the United States.
That being said, this isn't a product my family would continue to use. I don't feel we need the stress or added time to our brushing routine. I don't think it made either one of us feel better about brushing, made it more enjoyable, or made us better brushers. I think we were mostly creeped out by the whole thing.
Thankfully the company also made (and sent) just a general kid-friendly mouthwash (for after brushing) that we have really enjoyed! But this product, Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids I don't feel is a good one for my family. Since each product can be purchased, and used, independently of each other, I don't see us using Inspector Hector Plaque Detector Pre-Brush Rinse for Kids again.
I received this product for free from the company in exchange for my honest review.
(Inspector Hector Tooth Protector) Anti-Cavity Fluoride Rinse