What products are best to use for good dental health?

The best products to use for good dental health include a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles, toothpaste that contains fluoride, and dental floss. There are several types of floss, including waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, ribbon, and thread. Choose the type that works best for you. In addition, ask your dentist whether you should use a mouthwash or mouth rinse to support your dental health.
Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. People's needs may differ, and your dentist is as concerned as you are about choosing products that will help you maintain good oral hygiene at home between dental visits.

Choose products that bear the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal on a product is your assurance that it has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators, and mouth rinse.

Other tips to make shopping for dental products less confusing:
  • Choose a fluoride toothpaste that displays the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Fluoride helps keep tooth enamel strong and can aid in remineralizing (repairing) microscopic decay. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may suggest using special toothpaste.
  • Select a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice a day. All ADA-accepted toothbrushes -- manual or powered -- earned the ADA Seal because they can remove plaque above the gumline and reduce gingivitis. For children, choose a child-sized toothbrush for ease of use.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush will not do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Children's toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults because they can wear out sooner.
  • Persons with physical difficulties or manual dexterity limitations may find a powered toothbrush easier to use and more effective for them than a manual toothbrush.
  • Oral irrigating devices use a stream of water to remove food particles around the teeth. They can be helpful for persons wearing braces or fixed or partial dentures. However, an oral irrigator is meant to enhance, not replace, regular brushing and flossing.
  • Mouthrinses can be either therapeutic or cosmetic. Therapeutic mouthrinses include those with fluoride (which helps prevent tooth decay) and those with antimicrobial agents (which can help reduce plaque and gingivitis). Cosmetic mouthrinses are those that freshen breath by: 1) masking the odor; 2) actually reducing the bacteria that produce bad breath; or 3) neutralizing the odors they produce. If you find that you are constantly using a breath freshener for bad breath, see your dentist. In some cases, bad breath may be a sign of poor health.

Continue Learning about Healthy Oral Hygiene

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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.