Maintaining a healthy smile begins at home. Besides regular dental check ups, spending a few minutes caring for your teeth and gums each day can help keep your smile healthy. Among today's plaque-busting artillery is an assortment of toothbrushes (powered and manual), as well as toothpaste, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators and more. When buying oral care products, how do know which ones are right for you? Even savvy shoppers sometimes are baffled by the seemingly endless variety of dental care products.
First, ask our participating dentists or dental hygienists for a recommendation. They may suggest a particular type of product or brand or give you an opinion about the products you currently use.
When selecting a toothbrush, look for one that is comfortable to hold and fits your mouth. The ADA says that manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as powered toothbrushes. People who motor skills are impaired such as people with arthritis may find powered toothbrushes helpful. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Toothbrushes with frayed bristles will not clean teeth effectively.
Today you can buy toothpaste in a pump or a tube, in paste or gel form, for children or adults. You can buy toothpaste with special ingredients for controlling tartar or sensitivity or for whitening teeth.
A toothbrush can't reach all of the spots in which plaque collects. Dental floss is needed to remove the plaque and debris that collect between the teeth and under the gum line. Waxed and unwaxed dental floss both are effective. Waxed floss may be easier to use if your teeth are tightly spaced. If you find it difficult to manipulate long strands of floss, consider using a special floss holder.
Another way to remove plaque is with an interdental cleaning aid. These products include special picks or sticks. People who have trouble handling dental floss may find it easier to use interdental cleaners. Discuss the proper use of these cleaning aids with our participating dentists and follow instructions to avoid injuring your gums.
These devices direct a stream of water to remove particles of food from around and between the teeth. They may be helpful to people with braces or fixed partial dentures. They are useful for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and may help reduce gingivitis. However, using an oral irrigator is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.
Mouthwashes generally are used for cosmetic reasons. They temporarily freshen breath or sweeten the mouth. Although they can aid in removing food particles, their primary purpose is to mask mouth odour. Non-prescription fluoride mouthrinses can be effective tools in preventing tooth decay. Our participating dentists may recommend using an antiplaque or antigingivitis mouthrinse to control plaque or prevent gum disease.
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