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What are some over-the-counter oral hygiene products?

There are several over-the-counter oral hygiene products available to help keep your mouth clean and healthy. Over-the-counter oral hygiene products include :
  • different brands of toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • floss
  • fluoride products
  • tooth whiteners
Regular use of these products can help to prevent plaque buildup and gum disease.
Carol Jahn
Dentist
There are hundreds of different types of over-the-counter oral hygiene products in your local stores, and it can be confusing to know which ones you should invest in. Two products that can help do the most to improve or maintain oral health are a power toothbrush and a water flosser. Power toothbrushes can help almost anyone improve plaque control. But brushing is not enough -- cleaning in between teeth is even more important. Floss is often a struggle; that's why a water flosser is an easy and effective alternative. Three studies have compared it to string floss and found it reduces bleeding and gingivitis better than flossing and removes the same amount of plaque. Do you need both a power toothbrush and a water flosser. Research indicates that adding a water flosser to a power sonic toothbrush can significantly improve oral health. 
The oral hygiene section at your local pharmacy or supermarket includes these essential oral care products:
  • Toothbrushes. Replace yours every three to four months, or when the bristles become frayed.
  • Toothpaste. Use a product that contains fluoride, which fights tooth decay.
  • Dental floss. Use waxed, unwaxed, mint-flavored -- any variety will do, as long as you use it daily.
In addition, there are many other available over-the-counter oral hygiene products, including mouth rinses, fluoride supplements, and tooth whiteners. These products have advantages and disadvantages. For your teeth's sake, talk to your dentist about all oral hygiene products you use.

There are so many oral care products on the store shelves, how do you decide what’s best for you and your family … favorite brand, lowest price, great flavor, safe and effective. The ADA Seal of Acceptance is designed to help consumers make informed decisions about safe and effective consumer products. When you see the ADA Seal on a package, you can be sure the product inside has been thoroughly evaluated to be safe and effective. You may take it for granted that’s true of all products, but to obtain the ADA Seal companies are frequently asked to meet higher standards than what is required by law. Rest assured, products with the Seal have gone the extra mile to prove they do what they say.

Basic oral hygiene products are toothbrush, dental floss, interproximal cleaning devices, mouthwash and several varieties of automatic toothbrushes. As important has having these items in the house is using them and using them properly.

Many people say "but I brush everyday"; however, they often may not brush every tooth or every tooth effectively or frequently enough or at the proper time. Proper oral hygiene technique can be learned on sites such as the ada.org website and by asking your dental professional.

It's not that complicated but it does take time to learn correctly. The skills pay off in better dental health and therefore, decreased cost for dental care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.