With such a variety of dental products available, it can be hard to choose the right one for you and your family. Here are some things to look for when choosing a toothbrush, toothpaste, or mouthwash.
Most dental professionals recommend using soft-bristled brushes as these do a good job of cleaning the teeth without damaging them. Toothbrushes with small heads are also preferable because they can access the hard-to-reach back teeth better to clean them. Powered toothbrushes can remove more plaque than regular brushes, and make brushing easier, but manual toothbrushes also do a good job. Choose a shape and size that is most comfortable for you; the best kind is one that fits comfortably in your mouth and allows you to reach all your teeth easily.
Children should be using a brush with soft nylon bristles to prevent damage to the teeth and gums. Infants should be using a brush that is very small. As they grow, larger brushes can be used; they should brush one or two teeth at a time and still fit comfortably in the mouth.
In most cases, your dentist will recommend a toothpaste that contains fluoride. This mineral helps to strengthen tooth enamel, which can prevent tooth decay. However, people who are allergic to fluoride, or have another medical condition, will have to avoid it and choose a different toothpaste. Talk to your dentist or physician about your fluoride needs.
When selecting a toothpaste for children, look for one that has fluoride, but also has a nice taste that will encourage your child to brush regularly. For adults, it might be helpful to determine what you want your toothpaste to do first. Are you looking for one that whitens? One that helps with tooth sensitivity? One that gives extra fresh breath? Pay attention to the benefits that each tube offers.
They might sound similar, but these are two different products that have different purposes. Mouthwashes are anti-bacterial and help to control plaque and freshen breath while fluoride rinses coat the teeth with fluoride to strengthen them (they also freshen breath). Many types of mouthwash contain alcohol, which should not be used by children.