Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Toothy Tuesdays: Products
Lots of friends and patients ask about various dental products. There is so much variety out there and virtually no real answers. The best way I've heard it put is that the best product is whatever you will consistently use.
For example, whatever floss you can make a habit out of using is the best floss for you. There may be an advantage to using traditional floss as opposed to those little flossers because you don't get a fresh slice of floss for every tooth, but if that is the only effort you can make to floss--go for it.
Many people get the wrong idea about mouth rinse. Mouth rinses are no substitute for brushing your teeth, but can be a good way to reduce harmful bacteria that leads to gum disease. Most mouth rinses contain alcohol. These rinses may taste great, but the extra alcohol just dries out your mouth and worsens the situation especially if you already have a dry mouth. Saliva is a natural mouth cleanser and unfortunately, it's reduction is the number one side effect of many popular medications. Finding a rinse that contains fluoride is also a good idea in order to turn baby cavities back into tooth.
Types of toothpastes aren't crucial as long as they contain fluoride and don't irritate your mouth. Some people have reactions to different pastes, specifically those with cinnamon flavoring. The thing to worry about with brushing, though, is that too much toothpaste can actually cause tooth wear. Use a soft bristle brush and spread toothpaste on the bristles like you are buttering toast.
Make sure your breath-freshening gum is sugar-free. Even better look for the ingredient xylitol--a sugar substitute that may actually be beneficial to your teeth and prevent cavities.