According to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 48% of Americans over the age of 30 have some degree of gum disease. Studies have now linked gum disease to a number of health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases and cancer, making good oral hygiene even more important. Given the huge number of choices available to consumers in oral hygiene products, it is often difficult to know which to choose. The best advice is to consult with your dentist, however below are some tips to help get you started.
There is an extensive variety of toothpastes on the market, each making different claims or targeting specific users. A few examples include:
- Whitening toothpastes
- Tartar control toothpastes
- Toothpastes with foaming action
- Smoker toothpastes
- Toothpastes for sensitive teeth
- Toothpastes with additives such as baking soda or peroxide
In addition, toothpaste comes in various forms such as gels, pastes and powders as well as a variety of flavors. Given all these options, how does anyone choose the toothpaste that is best for them?According to the American Dental Association (ADA),the best way to start is to look for the ADA Seal of Approval. Regardless of cost or other characteristics choosing a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Approval means that the toothpaste has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Outside of this, dental professionals suggest choosing a toothpaste that leaves a satisfying taste and feel in your mouth, which will encourage daily brushing.
As with toothpaste, the wide variety of toothbrushes can be overwhelming. A few examples of the most common toothbrushes on the market include:
- Electric toothbrushes
- Manual toothbrushes
- Toothbrushes with special bristles or heads
- Ergonomically designed toothbrushes
When choosing a toothbrush, a good place to begin is by looking at the bristles. Dental professionals recommend a soft to medium bristle, preferably with the ADA Seal of Approval, in order to prevent wearing down the enamel of your teeth.
While there is much debate regarding which is more effective – manual toothbrushes or powered toothbrushes – experts agree that teeth can be cleaned effectively with either kind of brush. In some cases powered toothbrushes do have advantages over manual toothbrushes such as for people who have less manual dexterity due to injury, arthritis or other physical impairment which make brushing effectively with a manual toothbrush difficult or impossible. Children also often prefer powered toothbrushes to manual toothbrushes because they make brushing more fun.
Dental professionals stress that when choosing a toothbrush the most important factor is that the toothbrush makes brushing as satisfying as possible so you will make it a daily habit.
Floss vs Waterpik
Dental professionals agree that along with brushing, people should also remove debris from between teeth that brushing alone canâ€™t reach. The two major methods for achieving this are flossing or using a waterpik. Floss is a long filament made of silk, nylon, or other material used to remove debris from between teeth. Floss is rather inexpensive and when used properly scrapes the sides of the teeth, helping to remove plaque. Those with sensitive gums, however, may find that floss can irritate the gums and cause bleeding. People with braces also canâ€™t use floss because it won’t penetrate the wires in order to reach the gums.
A waterpik, on the other hand, is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth to remove food particles. Waterpiks are often more gentle on the gums than floss and are able to get around the wires in those who wear braces, making it a better alternative for those with braces or sensitive gums. Waterpiks are also recommended for those with active gum disease because they can flush out bacteria from deep pockets that form when gums pull away from the teeth. Because waterpiks donâ€™t scrape the sides of teeth like floss does, they are believed to be less effective at removing plaque. There are several conflicting studies regarding this fact, however dentists agree that using either method, or even both, is far better than nothing at all.
About the Author
The team at Rocky Mountain Dental Partners believes a great smile is priceless and everyone deserves the look and feel that great smile can bring. With locations in Aurora, Centennial, and Cherry Creek Rocky Mountain Dental Partners are available to answer your questions about gum disease and help you achieve the smile you always wanted. For more information on Rocky Mountain Dental Partners, please call 720-238-2977 or visit http://www.dentistsindenver.com.