Visiting the oral hygiene section of the grocery store can be confusing. You’re faced with dozens of choices for toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste. Which type is the most effective? And which type is the best choice for you?
Here are a few guidelines to help you make your decision.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush
All toothbrushes are created equal, right? Not quite. Certain toothbrush types do offer slight advantages.
Soft vs. Hard
Dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes for almost all their patients. Hard-bristled toothbrushes might remove more plaque—but they can do more harm to your teeth than help. Hard bristles can actually damage your gums and enamel.
Electric vs. Manual
Electric toothbrushes have become more popular in recent years. In studies, they haven’t necessarily performed better than manual toothbrushes.
However, the most effective way to brush your teeth is in a circular motion, which can be hard work if you do it manually. Some electric toothbrushes naturally move in a circular motion to make that movement easy for you. It all comes down to which kind of toothbrush you prefer using—both kinds will remove plaque.
Something else to consider: you want to make sure your toothbrush head is the right size to reach all areas of your mouth. Generally, you’ll want a toothbrush head that’s a half-inch wide and one inch tall. Other toothbrush features are based on your personal preferences.
If you’re choosing a toothbrush for your child, consider features that might make brushing more fun for him or her. You could purchase a toothbrush with pictures of your child’s favorite characters or a toothbrush that plays music while your child brushes his or her teeth.
Choosing the Right Floss
Now that you’ve decided on the right toothbrush, you want to know which type of floss best removes plaque and food from your teeth.
Traditional string-like floss comes in several different varieties:
- Unwaxed floss. This nylon floss glides easily into tight spaces, but can break easily.
- Waxed floss. Waxed floss breaks less often than unwaxed floss, but may not reach tight spaces as well.
- Synthetic fiber floss. Made from polytetrafluoroethylene, this thin floss can reach particularly tight spaces.
All three of these kinds of floss are effective. The type you choose is based on which kind you prefer using. It’s more important to floss consistently rather than choosing the “perfect” floss, so choose whichever type is most comfortable, since then you’re more likely to use it. Also, make sure to work the floss in the space between each tooth and the gum line.
If you don’t like holding a piece of floss in your hands, you can use a floss holder. The floss sits inside a Y-shaped device.
If you have trouble working your floss in between braces or implants, you have a few unique floss options. Super floss is stiffer at the ends, making it easier for you to remove particles around your dental work. You could also use a floss threader. When you put your floss through the floss threader, you can more easily reach your floss between your braces and implants.
Other options for flossing around dental work is a water pick, which shoots streams of water at your mouth, or a spiral brush, called an interproximal brush. These devices may be more effective than floss at removing food particles from behind dental devices, but they aren’t as effective as floss for removing food particles between teeth. Thus, they should be used to complement rather than substitute your regular flossing routine.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste
The best step to find a good toothpaste brand is to choose one with a seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA). This seal means that the toothpaste has been tested and has met the ADA’s quality standards.
The second thing to look for is a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can strengthen your tooth enamel and help you prevent cavities. Other toothpaste features are based on your personal preferences.
If your teeth are yellow or stained, you might benefit from a whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes contain whitening agents like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to choose a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Desensitizing toothpastes contain strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. These ingredients help block pain signals to your teeth’s nerves.
Choosing the right toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste can help ensure you get the most out of your brushing and flossing routine. Make sure to brush and floss every day for the best results.
You can also keep your teeth healthy by getting regular checkups from your dentist. Dental hygienists offer a cleaning that’s more powerful than brushing and flossing. A dental checkup also gives your dentist the chance to find any dental problems and address them before they get worse.
Visit your dentist twice a year for a sparkling smile. Call Crest Hill Family Dental today to schedule your next dental checkup.