Standing in your drugstore’s dental aisle, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by options. Not only are there a lot of kinds of products these days – every product comes in a handful of variations from each of several brands. How do you choose? Luckily, there are just a few things to keep in mind when buying dental hygiene products. With all those options and your criteria in mind, everyone should be able to find their favorite products.
When buying a toothbrush, there is really one feature to keep in mind: soft bristles. It may seem tempting to choose stiffer bristles for a deeper clean. However, stiff bristles can injure your gums and even damage your tooth enamel. A soft-bristled bush is safe and gentle, but still enough to get teeth clean.
Electric vs. Manual
There’s a lot of debate over whether electric or manual toothbrushes are better. The truth is, they both get the job done. Manual toothbrushes are cheap and readily available. Electric toothbrushes are more expensive but can make thorough brushing a bit easier, especially for people with mobility issues. Try both and see what works best for you! Whatever you choose, be sure to use it twice a day.
Choosing toothpaste comes down to one thing: fluoride. Fluoride is a salt that has been shown to reduce tooth decay and loss. Look for toothpastes that contain at least 1000 parts per million of fluoride and carry a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. If tooth discoloration is a concern, you can choose a whitening toothpaste, but these have been shown to increase tooth sensitivity over time. Likewise, you can choose a sensitivity toothpaste if needed. Anything else – flavor, consistency, etc. – is up to you.
What floss you use depends on the space between your teeth. If your teeth are quite close-set, a thin floss will be most comfortable. If your teeth are more widely set, a thicker floss will be more effective. For people with gaps between their teeth, a dental tape may be the best choice. Anything else – filament, flavor – is personal preference.
Fluoride is an important feature of any good mouthwash. You should also look for one that is alcohol-based. An alcohol mouthwash is the best thing for eliminating the bacteria that cause decay and bad breath. Between the alcohol and the fluoride, your teeth will have the best chance possible of good health.
Schedule a Consultation
Do you have questions about the specific needs of your mouth? We will be happy to perform an evaluation and make recommendations on what your dental health routine needs. To schedule an evaluation with Drs. Alan Dechter and Matthew Moy, contact our Silver Spring, MD office online or at (301) 508-9755.