Adult oral hygiene care can be confusing and overwhelming.
Do you ever find yourself just staring into the abyss in the dental aisle at your local Walmart or drugstore?
What actually works and what doesn’t? We are constantly targeted by businesses to buy their products. And sometimes, their genius marketing techniques can get the best of us… I know I’ve been there a few times myself.
Below are some resources I use myself and recommend to my family, friends and patients.
The best manual toothbrush is a soft or extra-soft brush. The reason for this is to protect you from wearing away your tooth surface as well as your gum tissue.
This toothbrush is made my GUM and is the only manual toothbrush I will use because it is soft, has tapered bristles to reach hard-to-get areas as well as underneath the gum line, and has a quad handle grip that perfectly aligns the bristles against the teeth and under the gums to get the maximum clean!
When the gum is worn away (can also include the tooth surface), it is called toothbrush abrasion and it can cause lasting issues. You can see an example of gum recession in the image below.
The softer the brush, the easier it will bend and contour around your teeth and under your gum tissue. Giving you a much more effective and gentle clean.
As I have mentioned in other corners of this blog, the Oral-B electric toothbrush is my gold standard. It provides a superior brush vs other toothbrushes.
The size of the toothbrush head is the perfect size to contour around the teeth and around the gumline. Teeth are tiny and have tiny nooks and crannies. When a brush head is too big, you miss those tiny spaces.
If you want the best deal on the Oral-B toothbrush, you should check with your dental office and see if they sell them. But if you do decide to buy an Oral-B, it would make my day if you supported me and bought it through here. 🙂
There are different ways to floss. Finding what works best for you will help build a habit and provide you with a healthier mouth and body.
I have patients who just want to string floss but are not compliant. However, I would rather see a patient of mine floss 4-5 times a week with a floss pick than only 1-2 times a week with string floss.
I often hear complaints about string floss being too hard to use, or it just shreds and breaks. Sometimes if the floss is too thick, shredding can happen. Try looking for thinner waxed floss.
The wax will help glide the floss in between the teeth. Below I linked a vegan floss that tastes amazing and glides between teeth so nicely.
I love the product so much that I get it shipped to Canada!
Sometimes a little tweaking in technique can make all the difference in reaching those far back teeth or getting the floss to actually glide between the teeth.
Floss picks are a great tool to keep people motivated to floss, and sometimes circumstances just make it a better option.
For example, the last thing I want to do on a long plane ride is to stick my fingers in my mouth and floss my teeth. So I always bring a pack of floss picks with me. Or I am out to dinner and need to quickly get some spinach out between my teeth. I am able to quickly use a floss stick in the bathroom.
The biggest thing that I hate about floss sticks is all the plastic waste they create. The floss picks linked below are a MUST HAVE! They are made from cornstarch and are the best eco-friendly floss pick out there.
Again compliance is my priority with my own patients. Soft picks are great for pushing out food debris and bacteria from between your teeth.
They have these little rubber projections on them, and it helps to stimulate the gum tissue, improving blood flow which will help heal your gum tissue faster.
I love using these on the go, especially around the permanent metal wire retainer I have glued to the back of my bottom front teeth.
Water flosser (Waterpik)
The Waterpik definitely has its pros and cons.
The con is that it does not replace flossing, but the pros are a little more substantial.
I find that people become more compliant with a Waterpik vs regular string floss. As well as for people going through braces or other dental procedures.
The reason why the Waterpik is so good is that it can actually get to places that regular string floss just can’t get at.
If your tooth was cross-sectioned in half, it would look like a warped figure 8. In the middle of figure 8, the floss will stretch over it, not actually removing the bacteria and food debris there.
This is why regular Waterpiking will help to blast that bacteria and food debris out of there, making the area cleaner.
This goes back to the whole figure 8 explanation. The bristles of the interdental brush get into that waistline of figure 8. Actually, doing a better job than string floss to clean the indentation.
The above interdental brushes are a little bigger, so they are for larger spaces between teeth, braces, and or bridges.
Remember not to use these brushes around your dental implants if you have any. This is because the bristles are attached to a metal wire in the center of the brush.
The metal can cause micro-scratches on the actual metal implant (under the crown). These scratches can harbour bacteria and contribute to gum issues such as gingivitis and gum disease around the implant, which can contribute to the implant failing.
IF YOU HAVE IMPLANTS: Please, if you have implants and want to use IP brushes, use the GUM brushes because they coat the wire, so they will not scratch/damage the implant.
The sulcabrush is another underrated dental tool. It is great for around dental implants, bridges, braces, or to use on normal teeth.
The spot that people love it the most for is behind their very last teeth. Often, the back teeth are so hard to reach with a normal brush, also the tongue loves to push the toothbrush out of the way.
The double end on the sulcabrush is for different areas of the mouth, making it a lot easier to reach those difficult areas.
My patients who love using their sulcabrush go on about how amazing it is and always make sure to ask me for refills.
Think of your tongue like a carpet. The number of bacteria and the amount of food particles that get caught between the taste buds on your tongue is unimaginable.
Either you can brush your tongue with your toothbrush, and many brushes come with a tongue cleaner on the back of the toothbrush head. I don’t always recommend using these because if you brush too hard back and forth, it can damage the taste buds.
I wrote a post all about tongue scrapers and tongue brushes. You can find it linked below.
Tongue scrapers are meant to be used back to front. This is to prevent damage to the tongue’s top surface and for most bacteria and food to be removed.
I hope all this information has been useful for you, and you are on your way to a healthier, happier you!