Keep your smile healthy and bright by using these recommended dental care products.

Your smile is one of your most valuable assets. Achieving an optimal level of oral health benefits your overall health as well as your relationships, career, and your self-confidence. A healthy smile is also one that is much less likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease or experience a dental emergency, such as a painful toothache.

Taking care of your smile isn’t a complicated process. In fact, following the basic guidelines of brushing twice daily for two minutes, flossing daily, biannual check-ups, and keeping an eye on your diet is all that’s needed for creating a foundation of optimal oral health.

If you’re interested in finding new ways you can level up your current oral hygiene routine, here are 8 tips and dental care products to add to your regimen.

1. Upgrade your brushing routine with a powered toothbrush.

Your toothbrush is the most important tool in your oral hygiene routine. Although even a simple soft-bristled toothbrush is very effective when using proper technique, sometimes it’s nice to have a little more oomph behind your brushing efforts. Studies show that powered toothbrushes outperform their manual counterparts for plaque removal.

Powered toothbrushes are a fantastic investment if you’d like a more thorough clean on your teeth and gums. You can find quite affordable models and even models that allow you to swap out specialized brush heads with different bristle designs.

Check out this list of ADA-recommended powered toothbrushes to help you make your decision.

2. Banish bad breath by using a tongue scraper before you brush.

Bad breath isn’t pleasant and sometimes it can be pretty stubborn. Firstly, if you’re experiencing chronic bad breath even with a thorough oral care regimen, let your dentist know as you might have an underlying issue (i.e. a decayed tooth). However, if you’re simply looking for ways to have pleasant breath and help get rid of the odor of last night’s garlicky dinner, a tongue scraper is a great choice.

Tongue scrapers are much more effective at removing bacteria and food residue than just brushing your tongue. You can find tongue scrapers right alongside toothbrushes and oral care products at your local store.

3. Select a mouthwash designed to target your oral health concerns.

Rinsing with a mouthwash is a great way to end your twice-daily oral hygiene routine. A minty mouthwash freshens your breath and ensures that any loose food particles are flushed away. But your mouthwash could be doing a lot more for you than giving your breath a minty kick.

You can find mouthrinses designed for plaque control and cavity prevention, gum disease prevention, whitening, as well as powerful rinses specifically for halitosis (bad breath). To help you find the perfect mouthwash for your smile, check out this ADA webpage with recommendations.

4. Water flossers are ideal for orthodontic and periodontal care.

Water flossers are more of a luxury item, but they can be extremely valuable tools for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment or periodontal therapy. Water flossers are gentle, easy to use, and very effective at flushing away food debris and plaque.

If you have braces, a water flosser will be able to make quick work of thoroughly cleaning around the brackets and wires. If you’re recovering from gum disease or are at high-risk for developing it, a water flosser will be perfect for cleaning between teeth, down into your gum pockets.

We recommend Waterpik Water Flossers.

5. Flosser picks make reaching and cleaning between molars easy.

If you find it difficult to reach your molars when flossing, floss picks are a very useful tool. Floss pickers or flossers are ideal for adults who have limited mobility in their hands and kids that don’t quite have the dexterity to floss thoroughly with string. Flossers are perfect for stashing in your car glove box or office desk in case you need to quickly get food debris unstuck.

We recommend using DenTek Floss Picks.

6. Chew sugar-free xylitol gum after meals to clean your teeth.

While sticky sweet candy is usually a smile foe, sugar-free xylitol gum is a friend. Studies show that chewing xylitol gum after meals helps clean the surface of the teeth, stimulates saliva production, and prevents cavities. Xylitol is also safe for all ages (4+ years) and has about 40% fewer calories than gum with sugar.

Not all sugar-free gum has xylitol, so be sure to double-check the ingredients list. We recommend Eclipse, Orbit, and the others on this ADA list.

7. Look for the ADA Seal of Approval on natural brand toothpaste.

The trend towards natural products and supporting small brands is wonderful, but not all toothpaste brands that make it onto store shelves are ideal for optimal oral health. Some simply don’t offer protection against cavities (i.e. non-fluoride toothpaste) while others can be downright abrasive or damaging to your enamel.

If you’re interested in trying a more unique or natural brand of toothpaste, take a look at the box to see if there is an ADA Seal of Approval. You can also check out this ADA webpage for a list of all approved toothpastes.

8. Biotene products help fight dental damage caused by dry mouth.

Dry mouth is often a side-effect of chronic health conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune disorders. Many medications can also cause dry mouth. Unfortunately, dry mouth is not only uncomfortable to deal with but it can also wreak havoc on your teeth.

If you frequently experience dry mouth, an effective solution is to use Biotene Dry Mouth Rinse. Biotene also offers moisturizing oral sprays, toothpaste, and lozenges for additional relief of dry mouth.

Schedule an appointment with Tory Hill Dental for a routine check-up and to learn more about your oral health.

If it’s been close to six months since your last check-up and cleaning or you’re simply interested to learn more about your smile, the Tory Hill Dental team is eager to help.

To book a visit with Dr. Miedema, you can either call our office or fill out this handy online form and keep your smile shining bright.