With the vast amount of dental tools available, it can be confusing and overwhelming to find the best ones for your smile. Even a product as simple as toothpaste is sold in seemingly endless varieties. Unfortunately, not all dental products are created equally, so it’s important to take the time to learn which ones will best protect your smile.
Explore our guide to learn about five essential dental tools that you need at home.
You probably already have a toothbrush at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one. For instance, there are lots of hard-bristled brushes available that can actually damage your gums and tooth enamel. Toothbrushes with large heads are also ineffective, as they make it challenging to clean certain areas of your mouth.
Dr. Sheldon Sullivan, an implant dentist in Gilbert, AZ, recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. This will allow you to brush your teeth comfortably and thoroughly without irritating any part of your mouth. It’s also important to change your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles begin to fray.
For patients who have trouble brushing effectively on their own, electric toothbrushes offer an excellent alternative. If you’re interested in an electric toothbrush, ask your dentist for a recommendation.
Choosing the right dental floss is a bit more complicated than selecting a toothbrush because the variety you need can vary depending on your teeth. For example, waxed floss is a good choice if your teeth are close together because it’s effective at digging in tight spaces. However, you’re better off with super floss or dental tape if you have large gaps between your teeth.
For patients who have braces, flossing can be a nuisance. Though most varieties of floss are compatible with braces, you have to be extremely careful not to irritate your brackets, and many of them don’t clean below your wires. Dr. Stephen Grussmark, an orthodontist and Invisalign provider in Miami, FL, recommends using string floss and threading the floss behind your wire for optimal results.
The most important ingredient in toothpaste is a mineral called fluoride, which helps to counteract decay in its early stages and protect your teeth. For this same reason, many local governments add fluoride to their water supply.
An easy way to know if your toothpaste contains fluoride is by looking for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the package. You can rest assured that any product approved by the ADA is safe for your smile.
If you have dental implants, it’s important to avoid any brands of toothpaste with abrasive ingredients. Dr. Eric Herman, a dental implant specialist in Vincennes, IN, advises against using whitening or smokers’ toothpaste, as these products can potentially irritate your implant post.
Much like toothpaste, it’s hard to know where you should even begin when you’re purchasing mouthwash. Depending on your needs, there are different varieties available to help with a wide range of dental problems, from discolored teeth to gingivitis. As long as the mouthwash you choose contains fluoride, it should be an effective way to complete your oral care routine and keep your breath fresh.
For patients with dental implants, it’s best to choose alcohol-free solutions as alcohol dries out your mouth. You should also avoid alcohol-based mouthwash if you suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth) or a similar condition.
The last essential dental tool on our list is a tongue scraper. Often overlooked, tongue scrapers are a great way to eliminate bad breath and minimize the buildup of plaque on your teeth. This is because your tongue collects lots of plaque and the bacteria spreads when you rub your tongue against your teeth.
Though cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush is helpful, we highly recommend a tongue scraper to maintain excellent oral health.
Stock Your Bathroom with Essential Dental Tools
As you can see, choosing your oral care products is a much more important decision than merely buying a toothbrush and toothpaste. In fact, it’s essential to do your research and be aware of the differences between these products so you can make the healthiest choice.
Additionally, if you have any kind of dental restoration or orthodontic appliance, it’s important to accommodate your specific needs if you want your treatment to succeed. With the wide range of dental products available, you’re guaranteed to find one that meets all your criteria.
By choosing carefully and arming yourself with these five essential dental tools, you can ensure that your smile remains healthy and beautiful for many years to come.