Oral hygiene is the daily practice of keeping your teeth and mouth clean. To maintain good oral hygiene, it takes a combination of regularly scheduled visits to your general dentist along with your commitment to daily self care at home between those visits.
Knowing what to do at home; what to use; when to use it and; how to use it are all questions that should be discussed with your dentist and hygienist so you can develop and implement the proper daily care regimen for optimal oral hygiene.
A toothbrush and toothpaste are essential tools for maximizing daily oral hygiene. The following are some general guidelines and tips for toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Toothbrushes for Good Oral Hygiene
A visit to the dental care aisle of your local pharmacy, grocery store or super center will show you the wide variety of options you have for purchasing a toothbrush. In fact, the number of choices can be overwhelming.
Finding the right toothbrush is important. The wrong toothbrush can damage gums and lead to tooth decay. Here are a few general tips for selecting a toothbrush that is right for you:
The size of the brush should fit your hand and mouth. This is especially important for children.
A powered toothbrush is not necessarily better than a manual toothbrush. What’s critical is that the toothbrush can reach all areas of your teeth and gums.
Buy a toothbrush that has been “Accepted by the ADA”. ADA is the abbreviation for the American Dental Association. The ADA recommends buying a toothbrush labeled as “soft”. This means the bristles of the brush are pliable and will be able to reach in between teeth comfortably. “Hard” bristles can hurt teeth and gums when brushing.
The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months. Inspect your toothbrush daily. If you notice the bristles are bent or frayed, it’s time for a new one.
To prevent bacteria from growing on a toothbrush, keep it clean, dry and store it in an upright position.
Toothpastes for Good Oral Hygiene
If you thought the choices for a toothbrush seemed endless, they are nothing compared to toothpastes. Sixty nine (69) new varieties of toothpastes hit store shelves in 2014. Several years earlier in 2007, one hundred two (102) new varieties of toothpastes were introduced.
Just like the right toothbrush, the proper toothpaste is critical to your oral hygiene and preventing dental problems. Here are some essentials when selecting toothpaste:
Toothpaste must contain fluoride.
Toothpaste should have the ADA seal on the packaging. The ADA seal means the toothpaste has been tested and evaluated for safety and effectiveness by scientific experts. It also ensures the toothpaste will contain fluoride.
Toothpastes that contain multiple anti-plaque agents are good. These types of toothpastes are generally labeled as ‘tartar control’.
Streamline the Toothbrush and Toothpaste Selection Process
To cut down your time evaluating the hundreds of choices in the dental care aisle of your local shopping center, talk to your family dentist and hygienist about what toothbrush and toothpaste is right for you. Working together, your team of dental professionals will provide you with all the knowledge and the tools for the very best oral hygiene.