While visiting the dentist for routine dental exams and cleanings every six months is certainly important, how you care for your teeth in between those appointments is just as vital. When oral hygiene is neglected, it can result in cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. By properly caring for your pearly whites, you can extend the longevity of your natural teeth and prevent costly restorative procedures.
As you walk the oral hygiene aisle at your local pharmacy or grocery store, you will find an assortment of products to choose from. The choices can seem endless and leave you overwhelmed. You may be wondering, “Should I choose waxed or unwaxed dental floss?” “Which toothbrush is best?” “Do I need tarter control or whitening toothpaste?”
Outlined below are eight different dental care products that can assist you in maintaining a good at-home oral hygiene routine so you can keep your smile bright and teeth and gums healthy. Our dentists at Docklands Dental Studio place great importance on educating patients on oral hygiene habits. If it has been awhile since you last visited the dentist, contact our office today online or give us a call at 03 9021 9487 to schedule your dental exam.
Toothbrushes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and functions. To make your choice even more difficult, you can select between soft, medium, or hard bristles. While it may seem like the harder the bristles, the cleaner your teeth will be – this is not true. Hard-bristled and medium-bristled toothbrush heads are abrasive and can irritate gums and weaken enamel. We recommend choosing a soft-bristled toothbrush.
If you have difficulty remembering to brush in a circular motion, you may want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush prevents harsh brushing techniques and provides more effective results. Whether manual or powered, your toothbrush should fit comfortably in your hand and mouth and be easy to use.
The most important thing to remember when selecting toothpaste is making sure it contains fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral is essential for strengthening enamel and fighting tooth decay. If you suffer from dental sensitivity, you may also benefit from desensitizing toothpastes. Other toothpastes contain special ingredients to counteract gingivitis, bad breath, and plaque. When meeting with your dental professional, ask them which one would benefit the best. As a word of caution, toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth can weaken enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity.
Flossing is perhaps the most neglected habit, but is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums and should be performed daily – perhaps even twice a day. Dental floss removes food and bacteria trapped between teeth that your toothbrush is unable to reach. If left, it can result in tooth decay and gum disease. Dental floss comes in a variety of flavors and either waxed or unwaxed. Waxed dental floss is beneficial for people who have tightly spaced teeth, as it will glide more easily. Finding one with good flavor and that’s easy to use will increase your chances of following through on flossing.
For those who have trouble using traditional dental floss, you may try using dental picks. This device has a single strand of dental floss on one end with an easy to grasp handle on the other so you can maneuver it easily between and around teeth. Whether traditional floss or dental picks, make sure you find one that gently, yet effectively glides between teeth without causing irritation.
Braces, dental bridges, dental implants, and other restorative appliances can make oral hygiene difficult. In such cases, we recommend investing in an oral irrigator. This handheld device releases a steady stream of water intended to remove trapped food from hard to reach areas in the mouth. However, an oral irrigator should not be considered a replacement for regular flossing.
There are numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products available, including strips, toothpastes, gels, and bleaching kits. These teeth whiteners typically cause dental sensitivity and offer very little results. Speak with your dentist about professional in-office teeth whitening. At Docklands Dental Studio, we offer Zoom! Teeth Whitening. This treatment uses a prescription strength whitening gel that is activated by a high-powered light to produce results in less than an hour. Patients can achieve a smile up to eight shades lighter without damaging tooth enamel.
Depending on the ingredients contained in the mouthwash, it can help counteract gingivitis, strengthen enamel, or freshen breath. We recommend selecting one based on your specific problem areas. If you have difficulty brushing and flossing as recommended, you want a mouthwash that will offer protection against cavities and gum disease. Speak to your dentist about which mouthwash is best suited for your needs.
The tongue is perhaps one of the most ignored areas in the mouth, but may be the culprit of your bad breath as a result of the bacteria on its surface. Simply brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can reduce bad breath by 70 percent. During your oral hygiene regimen each morning and night, remember to brush your tongue, or invest in a tongue scraper designed to remove trapped bacteria on the furthest part of your tongue. Using a tongue scraper can also unblock taste buds and stimulate digestion.
Schedule Your Dental Visit
Even if you follow through and maintain good oral hygiene habits, visiting your dentist every six months for a routine dental cleaning and exam is just as important. Dentists are designed to locate the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease, and offer recommendations to keep your smile healthy. To book your dental visit, please contact our office today online or give us a call at 03 9021 9487.
Docklands Dental Studio is conveniently located in the Victoria Harbour Precinct in Docklands, Melbourne. It is easy to get to us from Southbank via cars (through the city or M1 then Wurundjeri Way) or by foot (20 minute walk).
Also published on Medium.