There are a variety of oral health care products on the market and it can be confusing when standing before shelf after shelf of toothbrushes, pastes, rinses and other dental care products. We thought it would be a good idea to discuss some of our recommendations in this issue of our Quarterly Newsletter which would be applicable for most patients.
A soft bristle toothbrush is our recommendation for cleaning your teeth. Soft bristles flex and sweep best along the gum line and slightly between the teeth, without being overly abrasive. A variety of sizes, bristle arrangements, shapes and handle sizes can be found. Feel free to use what feels most comfortable in your hand and mouth. Sonicare toothbrushes certainly make brushing easier, especially for those who have a hard time manipulating a manual toothbrush. They are an effective product, which have produced positive results for our patients who have used them regularly. Any toothbrush that is used for at least two minutes (twice a day) will produce a beneficial result. No toothbrush will remove all the plaque and bacteria if you are not using it properly, or on a regular basis.
We recommend patients use plain or sensitivity-type toothpastes or gels containing fluoride to help reduce the risk of dental decay. Avoid toothpastes containing baking soda, peroxide, tartar control or whitening ingredients, as we frequently see tooth sensitivity or gum irritation with long term use of these products. We advise against Crest Complete, Colgate Total & Crest Pro-Health pastes and rinses, since some of their additives cause sensitivity or an accumulation of stain on patient’s teeth which are visible when smiling or talking; and require a professional cleaning to effectively remove.
We do not recommend the daily use of an alcohol-containing mouthwash, as plaque removal is best accomplished with brushing, flossing and regular cleanings by a Dental Hygienist. Long-term use of an alcohol containing mouthwash may also adversely affect the soft tissues of your mouth. Fluoride containing mouthwashes (such as ACT) are beneficial if used after brushing and flossing, to help strengthen teeth and reduce the risk of decay. Look for the ‘anti-cavity’ and ‘alcohol-free’ variety of fluoride rinse.
There are different varieties of floss to accommodate the differences in tooth shape, size, contact tightness and periodontal status. Use the type of floss which is most comfortable and easy for you to manipulate. Many people do better with the use of a floss holder. Consult one of our Dental Hygienists on the proper technique and variety of floss holder available for your individual needs. Water Irrigators or Flossers Although not a substitute for brushing and flossing; daily use of a water irrigator has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce gingival inflammation, plaque, bacteria and bad breath. Water irrigators are a wonderful tool for patients with braces or those with periodontal pockets. Please feel free to talk with one of our Dental Hygienists on the proper use of the water irrigator. Research has shown that daily use improves oral health by reducing the bacteria that specifically causes gum disease. Reducing bacteria helps improve or maintain larger periodontal pockets, reduce inflammation and bleeding of the gums, which improves overall oral health and reduces gum disease. As with any oral health care product, the key is to be consistent and to use the product on a regular basis to achieve favorable results.
Every patient has specific areas in their mouth which might be hard to reach or perhaps are missed during regular brushing and flossing. Your dental cleaning appointment with a Dental Hygienist is the best time to review areas of concern which would benefit from extra attention or a possible oral product tool specifically suited for your individual needs.