Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. It’s also probably one of the first things you notice about others. Taking care of your teeth is so important. After all, you only get one set of adult teeth to last a lifetime. With so many products on the market, it can be confusing trying to decide exactly which tools you need and how to choose the best of each one. Here, Dr. Amy Norman, a leading adult and cosmetic dentist in Everett, Washington, talks about which tools are essential and how to choose them wisely.
"There are a few must-haves for any oral health routine such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and a dentist you can trust," she said. "Choosing what kind of each product is best can be a little more challenging."
Choosing the Right Toothbrush
If you’ve ever stood in the toothbrush aisle of a store, you know just how overwhelming it can be. There are so many different shapes, sizes, textures and models of toothbrushes available, it can be extremely hard to figure out which one is right for you. Most dentists, including Norman, recommend choosing a soft-bristled brush.
"Stronger-bristled brushes may seem like they would clean your teeth better, but they can actually do damage to the gums and wear off some of the enamel," she said. "It’s important to brush thoroughly, not vigorously."
The rest is up to you. Deciding on the shape and size often depends on the unique makeup of your own mouth. It may take some trial and error to determine the most comfortable fit. Some people also prefer electric toothbrushes over manual because they clean teeth faster than regular ones, making them more efficient if used for the same length of time.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste
Now that you’ve decided on the right brush, it’s time to choose a toothpaste. The oral health aisle has just as much variety in pastes as it does brushes, often leaving shoppers with too many choices to decide. One good thing to look for when browsing through the options is the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. This means the product has passed rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness.
Next, decide what your main goal is when it comes to your oral hygiene routine. Do you want to avoid cavities, make teeth whiter or help minimize sensitivity? There are products that focus on all of these and many more. If you’re looking for an organic or more natural option, there are several ADA seal of approval options that fit that category, as well.
Choosing the Right Floss
While there are a few different types of flossing tools, it’s not quite as overwhelming as the large number of toothbrushes and toothpastes that fill the hygiene aisles. Since so many people hate flossing, the best solution is whichever one you know you can commit to doing daily. For some, water or air pics are the best choice, while others prefer traditional waxed floss by the roll.
"Another thing to consider is mobility concerns," said Norman. "Someone with arthritis would likely find traditional floss painful and frustrating. There are a few different options such as floss pics and water pics that can make flossing less of a chore on the hands, fingers and wrists."
Choosing the Right Dentist
Last, but certainly not least, choosing a dentist you feel comfortable with is of vital importance when it comes to taking care of your teeth. One of the most important aspects of a doctor-patient relationship is trust.
"Knowing your dentist has your best interest at heart and is up to date on all the technological advances of the industry can be the difference between mediocre and great dental care," said Norman.