Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Below are a collection of commonly asked questions. If you don’t see your question below, or if you need additional information, feel free to ASK ANODIA using the form on our contact page.

Question: What are Dental Unit Waterlines?
Dental Unit Waterlines (DUWLs) are narrow-bore tubes used to deliver water for high-speed dental handpieces, air-water syringes, and dental unit water quick disconnects. Regardless of the dental unit water that offices choose to use as their source, all DUWLs are susceptible to bacteria growth. These microorganisms adhere to the inner tubal walls and water bottle interiors and form a slime layer, which can cause odors and other equipment malfunctions.
Question: What causes bacteria growth in Dental Unit Waterlines?
A combination of any of the following encourages rapid growth of microorganisms in waterlines and bottles:
  • Small diameter of waterline tubing.
  • Water source—distilled water is not the optimal water source for your dental offices because distilled water does not contain an anti-microbial agent such as chlorine in municipal water. Once opened, distilled water is easily contaminated and has a 24-hour shelf life. We recommend city water as long as it is properly maintained.
  • Pick-up tube in water bottle—contamination occurs when staff touches the pick-up when filling the water bottle.
  • Unclean water bottles—not cleaning the inside of the water bottle on a weekly basis before filling it with water source.
  • Handpiece connectors—high-speed handpiece disconnects that are exposed.
  • Slow water flow through tubing such as high-speed handpieces.
  • Stagnant water in tubes.
  • Warm water temperature in water heaters.
  • Patient backflow of oral fluids.
  • Poor infection control by dental office staff—Not following protocols, not wearing gloves, not washing hands properly, etc.
  • “Dead-ends” on dental unit—these are a reservoir for bacteria unless an office is using a drain tube. A ‘dead-end’ on a dental unit is a point at which water does not continuously flow and is stopped by a valve. Most dental units have a water quick-disconnect outlet that is a ‘dead-end’—meaning it is a reservoir for bacteria if not properly cleaned using a drain tube and cleaning agent.
Question: I treat my water, so why do I need to clean my Dental Unit Waterlines?

Dental drinking water must meet the standards as set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), APHA (American Public Health Association) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The maximum concentration of heterotrophic bacteria is 500 colony forming units (CFU/mL) of drinking water. The ADA recommends less than 200 CFU/mL of drinking water.

Establishing standards for dental water quality was a necessary step and offices should meet these standards; however, even if you are taking precautions to clean your dental unit water source, this step does not address the microorganisms in the waterlines and bottles. Treating the water is not the same as treating waterlines. It is also worth noting that if you are using city water, mineral compounds (which are hard water) can also impact the effectiveness of the waterline cleaning agents. Unlike other waterline cleaners, Mint-A-Kleen is not impacted by your office’s dental water source.

Question: How do I know if I need to clean my Dental Unit Waterlines?
Every dental office should implement and incorporate an in-office DUWL cleaning regimen into their existing office infection control processes. Some common problems that can exist in dental offices when the office is not cleaning the waterlines are:
  • Patients complain that the water has a bad taste
  • Operatory has an unpleasant odor
  • Less flow of water from the handpiece/syringe
  • Waterlines are clogged with slime
  • Equipment shows signs of corrosion
Question: How do I get started cleaning my Dental Unit Waterlines?
Congratulations on your commitment to dental unit waterline infection control within your office. To start implementing a protocol to remove microbial contamination from your dental unit waterlines, we recommend following these steps:
  1. Identify your Dental Unit Water Source. Are you on City Water (no bottle system)? Are you on a bottle system using one or a combination of city water, distilled, purified, filtered water, etc.?
  2. Test your water. Dental units have microbial contamination and testing your water is important in order to give you a baseline of your dental unit’s present condition. Use one of our recommended professional water monitoring services to test your dental unit water prior to starting your waterline cleaning protocol. Call a professional test facility for details on how to proceed:
    Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
    Baylor College of Dentistry

    Loma Linda University School of Dentistry

    (909) 558-8176 / (909) 558-8069
  3. Begin Using Mint-A-Kleen and its protocol to clean, treat, and maintain clean waterlines. Mint-A-Kleen Dental Unit Waterline Cleaner can be used with any water source and water filter system,* and with or without a bottle system**. Works with all dental unit manufacturing equipment.

    *Excludes ultraviolet-light water cleaning systems.
    **If you choose to remain on city water and not use a bottle system, we have a couple of options for your waterline cleaning protocol. See below.

    Click below for information on using Mint-A-Kleen depending upon your dental unit.

    Information for Offices Remaining on City Water with No Bottle System:
    MAK-1910 Portable Dental Unit Waterline Cleaning System
    MAK-1900 City Water/Bottle Delivery System with Air Purge

    Information for Offices with Self Contained Bottle System:

  4. Monitor your water. After implementing your weekly Mint-A-Kleen waterline protocol, we recommend monitoring your water three months after you started your Mint-A-Kleen protocol. If the results do not meet the standard please contact Anodia Systems to discuss your protocol. Otherwise, monitoring your water once every six months should be sufficient to ensure that the protocol is performed correctly. Remember, with staff turnover and vacations, it can be easy to forget infection control processes. Monitoring your water is a simple test to see if the protocol is being implemented correctly.
Question: Why is it important to air purge before adding Mint-A-Kleen?

Air purging removes all of the water from the dental unit waterlines and ensures that only Mint-A-Kleen comes in direct contact with microbial contamination and the inner walls of the waterlines. Products that don't air purge become diluted and less effective. If water is not removed then it weakens Mint-A-Kleen's formula. Mint-A-Kleen is ready to use; no dilution and no mixing.

Question: Is it necessary to use Mint-A-Kleen with other products: tablets, filters, powders, irrigants, or cartridges?

No. Using Mint-A-Kleen by itself, meets the ADA dental unit water quality goal of ≤ 200 CFU/mL or less.

Dr. Raghunath Puttaiah confirms that Mint-A-Kleen is effective in controlling dental treatment water contamination and does concur with the ADA goal of ≤ 200 CFU/mL or less. Mint-A-Kleen has shown effective control of biofilms in dental unit waterlines (1).

Mint-A-Kleen is the only cleaning product a dental office needs to clean their dental unit waterlines. Mint-A-Kleen is a once per week waterline treatment and does not require the use of multiple products: tablets, powders, cartridges, filters, or irrigants. Our proven formula and protocol is supported by extensive research and has been in use for over 20 years in dental offices across the globe.

(1) Puttaiah, Dr. Raghunath. Efficacy of a Chlorhexidine based Solution in Dental Unit Biofilm Removal and Contamination Control, (January 31, 1997). Page 14. Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. Dallas, Texas.

Question: Many waterline products that are in tablet form say that air purging is not necessary. Is this true?

Air purging is necessary for waterline cleaners that actually treat the waterline tubing. Air purging the waterlines prior to the Mint-A-Kleen treatment ensures that there is no water remaining in the waterlines. This step is important because Mint-A-Kleen will not be diluted and will have direct contact with the inner walls of the dental unit waterline. Many waterline cleaners’ protocols omit important steps. With Mint-A-Kleen’s protocol, you are assured that it treats, cleans and protects your systems’ waterline walls and bottles.

Note: If your dental unit has a water heater, turn off water heater while cleaning your dental unit waterlines. Please contact us with any further questions regarding air purging.

Question: Should I air purge my waterlines at night to decrease the levels of bacteria in the waterlines?

No. Studies have shown that the time of day and length of time spent air purging does not reduce bacteria in waterlines.* Air purging is important because it prepares the waterlines for the Mint-A-Kleen cleaning phase and ensures that there is no water left in the waterlines, which would dilute the Mint-A-Kleen treatment.

*Ref: “The effect of ultrafiltration on the quality of water from dental units.” Dr. Associate Professor T. Larsen. International Dental Journal. 10.2956/indj.2006.56.6.352.

Question: How do I know if the waterlines will be filled with Mint-A-Kleen after I’ve activated the handpieces with Mint-A-Kleen?
You will know that the waterlines are filled with Mint-A-Kleen after you have activated the handpiece hoses and air/water syringes because you already air-purged your waterlines. Air-purging the lines means that you are flushing all of the liquid (water) out of the waterlines to prepare for the Mint-A-Kleen treatment. Once you have added Mint-A-Kleen into the lines and then activated the handpiece hoses and air/water syringes, you can have confidence that Mint-A-Kleen is treating the waterlines. It’s very important to follow the three-step protocol as indicated on Mint-A-Kleen’s Instructions for Use.
Question: How is Mint-A-Kleen different from other chlorhexidine based products?
Different ingredients. Different formulation. Different solution.
Mint-A-Kleen is specifically designed and researched for the intended use to clean and control microbial contamination in dental unit waterlines and bottles; whereas other chlorhexidine products are not.
Mint-A-Kleen has more than one active ingredient; whereas other chlorhexidine products only have one. Our different ingredients combined with chlorhexidine gluconate makes our formula unique. Mint-A-Kleen creates a physical and chemical reaction on microbial contamination. Our proven formula has been on the market longer than any competitive brand, and is EPA-registered for use as a dental unit waterline cleaner (EPA registration 85298-2).
Lastly, Mint-A-Kleen's proven formula combined with our 3-step protocol, removes microbial contamination from dental unit waterlines, bottles, tubing to the handpiece, syringes, and water outlets. .
Question: Can I use Mint-A-Kleen on a city water supply system?
Yes. The benefit of Mint-A-Kleen is that it can be used with any dental unit. If you do not have a bottle system and you want to remain on city water and clean your waterlines, no problem! Please refer to the MAK-1900 and/or MAK-1910 for more details on how to clean your waterlines while remaining on city water.
Question: What is a Drain Tube and why do I need to use it?
Most dental units have water quick-disconnect outlets. A drain tube is a clear tube used to open the water quick-disconnect outlet. The water quick-disconnect outlet is a ‘dead end’ and a reservoir for bacteria. The drain tube permits complete air purging of the unit and allows Mint-A-Kleen to enter the ‘dead end.’ Please contact the manufacturer of your dental unit water bottle system for more details regarding drain tubes or contact us at Anodia Systems and we would be happy to assist you with your dental unit water bottle system needs.
Question: Why do I have to turn the dental unit off as indicated in the instructions?
The on/off switch relieves the pressure in the bottle, thus making the removal of the bottle from the dental unit system safe.
Question: How long can I leave Mint-A-Kleen in the dental unit?
We do not recommend leaving Mint-A-Kleen in the dental unit for longer than three months.
Question: Is it recommended that Mint-A-Kleen remain in the waterlines over the weekend?
The once-per-week Mint-A-Kleen treatment can occur at any time during the week—whatever is convenient for your dental staff and office. Many of our customers prefer treating the waterlines on the last day of their business week (i.e., Friday) and allowing Mint-A-Kleen to remain in the waterlines and bottles over the weekend for a longer treatment. We recommend a minimum of 12 hours for treatment and certainly a weekend treatment is optimal as well.
Question: Why do I have to flush dental unit waterlines as indicated in Step 3?
Flushing your waterlines removes any excess Mint-A-Kleen along with the microbial contamination along the waterline and bottle walls. Following the 
three-step protocol as outlined in the Instructions for Use ensures clean waterlines and bottles—your equipment is now ready for general dental procedures.
Question: Why does the Mint-A-Kleen sample box include 4 bottles?
The Initial Treatment Instructions for a Single Operatory follows a 5 week treatment to ensure your office and staff properly clean and treat the dental unit waterlines and bottles. We also want you to become accustomed to Mint-A-Kleen’s unique formula and protocol.  For a single operatory, four bottles completes the Initial Treatment phase as well as one Routine Treatment.


Initial Treatment Instructions for a Single Operatory

Week 1:     Use 4 ounces of Mint-A-Kleen once per day for 4 consecutive days (preferably at the end of the business day). (1 bottle)       

Week 2-5:  Use 4 ounces of of Mint-A-Kleen twice per week. (2 bottles)                                                                                                       

Week 6+:   Routine Treatment. Follow the Routine treatment plan (1 bottle)