Walking through the dental care aisle can be overwhelming but also intriguing. Cordless water flossers, waxed dental floss and charcoal toothpaste sound worthwhile, but how do you know what’s right for you? Here’s a guide to dental health tools to maintain a healthy smile.
You can buy an electric or traditional toothbrush. Traditional brushes are small, convenient to carry around and affordable. Electric versions use power rotation and vibration to help loosen plaque from teeth and gums. They are helpful for people with mobility issues and make brushing easier. Remember to replace the toothbrush head every three months, like a traditional model.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right toothbrush for your needs:
- Opt for soft bristles and a brush head that fits in your mouth.
- Remember that a toothbrush with angled or multilevel bristles can more effectively reach all parts of your teeth.
- Choose a brush with a comfortable handle and extra grip or a curved shape if you need one.
You have probably seen the viral posts on social media about charcoal toothpaste’s magical powers, but there is limited evidence to support the claims people make. Charcoal toothpaste can damage your enamel layer and increase your risks of tooth sensitivity.
How do you know which toothpaste works? The essential ingredients to look out for are calcium carbonate, hydrogen phosphate and 1,000 parts per million fluoride to protect your teeth from decay.
Otherwise, it’s up to you what flavor and brand of toothpaste you use:
- Fluoride-based toothpaste helps prevent cavities.
- Whitening toothpaste contains bleaching agents that help whiten your teeth.
- Antibacterial toothpaste ingredients kill bacteria and remove plaque.
- Sensitive toothpaste can reduce tooth sensitivity.
The type of mouthwash you pick should be based on your desired results. Look for therapeutic rather than cosmetic varieties, which only work to alleviate bad breath with a pleasant minty taste. Medicinal mouthwash contains ingredients that target specific concerns:
- A dentist might prescribe mouthwash labeled antiseptic or antibacterial to treat inflammation associated with gingivitis. They contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium, which decrease bad bacteria in your mouth that causes gingivitis.
- Mouthwash with extra fluoride helps prevent cavities and combat the effects of consuming coffee or sugary drinks.
- If you’re undergoing whitening treatments, look for alcohol-free mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide.
Different types of whiteners on the market offer various benefits. If you’re considering trying a whitener or brand you haven’t used before, do some research first. Sometimes, the most expensive item is not the highest quality. It will help you to look at reviews, compare other products, and research the brand and manufacturer to ensure you buy the highest quality for your dental needs.
The most common types of whitening tools include:
- LED-powered devices – These devices use LED light to activate whitening gel and speed up the process.
- Whitening pens – Whitening pens use a brush head to apply the gel and improve the color of your teeth in a few minutes.
- Whitening strips – This option removes surface stains with lower peroxide levels, which works for people with sensitive teeth.
- Professional teeth whitening – A professional whitening treatment will last up to three years. Your cosmetic dentist will use a custom-fit tray and a strong peroxide solution.
Tongue scrapers are small, rounded tools that remove bacteria and food particles that cause bad breath, gum disease and cavities that can affect your overall health. Research also shows that tongue scrapers can help you taste food better by removing the layer of toxins off your tongue.
Brush and floss your teeth first, then use a stainless steel or disposable plastic tongue scraper.
- Stick out your tongue and scrape from the back. If you have a strong gag reflex, start where it feels most comfortable. It will become easier with time.
- Gently run the scraper over your tongue two or three times, rinsing it with warm water after every scrape.
- Rinse your mouth.
- Wash the scraper with warm water and soap and store it in a dry place. Throw it away if it’s disposable.
Flossing is an essential part of your oral health routine, as it removes plaque that builds up between your teeth.
- String floss – String floss comes in different styles that serve various purposes. Unwaxed floss has small strands twisted together that clean spaces between teeth that are close together, while wax-coated floss reduces friction or comfort. Dental tape is wider, which helps if you need more grip and an easier slide between your teeth.
- Interdental brushes – Interdental brushes are tiny tools with bristles small enough to reach between your teeth and remove plaque and food particles. This alternative to flossing is preferred by people who find it challenging to floss daily. They are also effective in reducing inflammation and bleeding gums.
- Floss pick – A floss pick is a D-shaped handle with a taut piece of floss an inch long stretched between two posts. You slide a single strand of floss between your teeth without wrapping a lengthy stretch of floss around your fingers.
- Water flosser – If you need a deeper clean, use a water flosser as an add-on to your regular flossing. The handheld dental health tool shoots water between teeth and gums to remove food particles in hard-to-reach areas. It can be extremely helpful if you have braces or fixed partial dentures.
Maintain A Healthy Smile With Dental Health Tools
Consistent cleaning habits with good quality dental health tools protect your teeth and gums. Using these items with regular visits to your dentist is the key to maintaining a beautiful smile.