It is essential to make sure you are using the best tools to clean your teeth for your specific needs. There are tooth-cleaning aids for just about any need and situation. Whether it is for cleaning around orthodontic brackets, deep recession or dental prosthodontics, there is the perfect cleaning aid out there for you. It is essential to use the tool that will do the job properly, so talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about recommendations.
Electric toothbrushes come in either circular heads that oscillate or oval heads that use a sweeping motion. They can activate more brush strokes than we can do with our own hands, so they generally perform a superior clean. Good electric toothbrushes come in around the same price point.
Manual toothbrushes still work well if the correct brushing technique is used. It is important not to scrub or apply too much pressure with the manual toothbrush to prevent recession. They come in soft, super soft, medium and hard. Medium and hard brushes are too abrasive on the gums and can lead to recession. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day with either a manual or an electric toothbrush.
Dental floss comes in either waxed or unwaxed. Waxed floss is great for tighter contacts that may shred the floss. Unwaxed floss is excellent for looser contacts between teeth that won’t tear. It is recommended to floss at least once a day to remove bacteria from in-between the teeth.
Super floss is a type of pre-cut floss with a rigid end on it great for accessing under braces, fixed retainers or bridges.
Floss threaders are used for the same cases as super floss, but they are an adjunct to regular floss. A floss threader is a small loop that the floss gets inserted into and pulled under where it needs to go.
A tongue cleaner is a product used solely to clean the top surface of the tongue. It can either be a piece of corrugated plastic or have bristles with a handle. Tongue cleaners are designed to get into the rough surface of the tongue to remove bacteria.
This is a type of brush with a small end of bristles (about 1/3rd of the size of a toothbrush). It is used to access difficult areas such as the back of the last molars.
This is a type of brush with a small pipe cleaner like end on it to access larger areas between teeth or between orthodontic brackets.
Soft picks are very thin plastic headed inserts used to clean small spaces between teeth. While they don’t replace flossing, they can remove some of the bacteria from between teeth.
This is used to massage the gums, usually between the teeth, to promote blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Mouthwash is a vital part of an everyday hygiene regimen. Make sure the mouthwash you choose has active ingredients and is approved by the ADA. Mouthwash reduces the total number of oral bacteria and can reduce general inflammation.
Fluoride is essential in reducing cavity risk. It is incorporated into most toothpaste and some mouthwash. Make sure you check the ingredients in the products you are buying. It is recommended to use fluoride 1-2 times per day, which depends mostly on cavity risk and make sure not to eat, drink or rinse for 30 minutes after.
If you have a dry mouth, it can be from several different factors such as previous radiation/chemotherapy, certain medications and certain health conditions. Saliva helps cleanse the mouth and prevent cavities, so a dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. Salivary substitutes come in the form of gum, mouthwash and lozenges.