Proper oral care requires some essential products and accessories
You and your family may see your dentist the recommended twice a year, but for the in-between times, it's up to you to ensure everyone gets the proper oral care they need to maintain healthy teeth and mouth hygiene. You have many tools at your disposal, and you can help prevent cavities and other issues with daily brushing, flossing and rinsing. Our Every Day Low Prices make it easy for you to buy all the oral care products you need for your family.
Manual and electric toothbrushes
The choice between a manual or electric toothbrush is generally a matter of preference. Although some dentists like the brushing action electric toothbrushes provide, there's a school of thought that prefers the ability to control where your toothbrush goes manually. Manual toothbrushes are available individually or in packs of two or more, which are usually more economical and let you have extra on hand when needed. Toothbrush bristles are either soft, medium or firm, and the type you use is based on personal tastes, recommendations from your dentist and the sensitivity you feel in your teeth and gums. Some toothbrushes have a crisscross pattern, which may remove plaque from teeth better, and some have polishing-cup bristles, which reportedly help remove surface stains better. Toothbrushes work to not only clean and remove plaque from your teeth, but they also massage gums and clean along the gum line.
Electric toothbrushes are either battery operated or rechargeable. Some have standard brushes, while others have round brushes that work much like a dentist's cleaning tool. Both types of electric brushes have replacement heads that you can buy when it comes time to replace them. Just like with manual toothbrushes, you should replace these heads every six months or as directed by your dentist.
Probably the most necessary tool in the battle against tooth decay, toothpaste usually addresses multiple issues. You can buy toothpaste that offers cavity protection, tartar control, gum protection, whitening properties and protection for sensitive teeth. Most toothpastes come in some form of mint flavoring, while kids' toothpaste comes in kid-friendly flavors. Some use baking soda and peroxide as cleaning ingredients that can help whiten your teeth as you brush. Toothpaste is available in individual tubes or packs of two or more, which is ideal if you have a large household and multiple bathrooms.
Oral rinse and mouthwash
Before or after brushing, it's often necessary to rinse your mouth to get any little bits of food that brushing might have loosened but not fully removed. Oral rinses provide some breath-freshening properties, but most help fight plaque buildup and gum disease and offer some teeth whitening as well. Mouthwash works as an antiseptic for your mouth, eliminating bad breath, so you should use it at different times other than after brushing your teeth. It can rinse away some of the protection that the fluoride in toothpaste gives to teeth.
If you or a loved one have had your teeth replaced with dentures, you need to take special care to keep them in good shape. The two most important tools you have at your disposal are adhesive cream and denture cleansers. Adhesive cream makes sure your dentures attach securely to your gums when you first put them in and ensures they stay in place all day so you don't have to keep re-adhering them. Adhesive cream creates a strong bond and makes it possible for you to enjoy the same foods and drinks that you'd if you had all your natural teeth. Adhesive cream usually has a pleasant mint flavor and comes in various levels of holding power to meet your specific needs. Other adhesive options include adhesive powder and adhesive wafers, which go between the dentures and your gums to create an adhesive bond.
Denture cleansers are usually effervescent tablets that you add to a container of water with your dentures to clean them. You can do a quick soak or clean them overnight. Most of these cleansers also have whitening abilities. There are some toothbrushes specifically made for cleaning dentures, although regular toothbrushes are fine in most cases for touch-up cleaning. Other denture-care items you can use include nighttime dental guards for storage when you're not cleaning them and anti-clenching and anti-grinding devices.
Other oral care products
There are also some specialty oral care products you can use to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy between dentist visits.
- Dental floss Dental floss is another valuable tool in the battle against tooth decay and gingivitis. Dental floss makes it possible to deep clean between teeth and remove food particles that a toothbrush might miss. Dental floss is available in convenient containers that allow you to use as much or as little floss as you want. You can also find floss strung across floss picks that have a toothpick-like implement on the opposite end.
- water flossers and sanitizers Water flossers and sanitizers are electric devices that deliver bursts of water onto your teeth and gums, which helps to dislodge food particles and stimulate gums.
- Oral pain relief When you have teeth or gum pain but going to the dentist immediately isn't an option, you can sometimes delay the visit for a couple days by using oral pain relief products. These are usually in gel form and have benzocaine in them to help numb the pain temporarily. These usually have antiseptic in them as well to help prevent infection.