Proper oral hygiene is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The question is: are you using the correct tools and services for your specific needs? There’s more to oral care than cleaning your teeth with any random toothbrush, you know? Below, you’ll find a list of worthy investments to improve your dental game.
7 Oral Hygiene Investments Worth Your Time, Money, And Effort
You may not need all of these, but it helps to know what you can gain from the right investments.
1. Manual toothbrush
The road to better oral hygiene starts with a great toothbrush. Dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes over those with medium or hard bristles. The American Dental Association (ADA) backs up this claim and warns against the risk of “gingival abrasion.”
Essentially, soft-bristled toothbrushes are proven to be gentler on your gums, so prioritise them in your shopping. When brushing with a manual toothbrush, you must avoid harsh scrubbing to prevent irritation. Don’t forget to brush the backs and sides of your teeth, too.
2. Electric toothbrush
If you want to level up your daily brushing, it may be time to invest in an electric toothbrush. While manual and electric toothbrushes offer similar benefits, the latter option requires less technique for effective use. The automatic mechanism does all the work for you: they thoroughly remove plaque and bacteria with minimal pressure on gums and teeth. According to a study in BMC Oral Health journal, teens who used an electric toothbrush had less plaque by the end of the two-week experiment.
3. Specialised toothpaste
There are so many kinds of toothpaste in the market that choosing the best one for you can be overwhelming. So, start simple: find an option with at least 1,000 parts per million fluoride and the ADA stamp of approval.
Fluoride reduces and prevents tooth decay, so it’s the most crucial ingredient to seek out. If you’re dealing with stained teeth, sensitivity, tartar buildup, and other issues, look for high-fluoride toothpaste with added ingredients that target these concerns. Do keep in mind that some additives can damage teeth and gums with prolonged use.
4. Dental floss and water flossers
Brushing and flossing are both necessary for your oral health. You shouldn’t skip one because you’re doing the other. The ADA recommends brushing at least twice a day and cleaning between the teeth with floss (or another interdental cleaner) once daily. Flossing removes food particles and plaque in areas your toothbrush can’t reach. It also reduces bad breath, lowers the risk of cavities, and prevents gum diseases like gingivitis.
Like toothbrushes and toothpaste, you’re spoilt for choice with suitable flosses. There’s standard dental floss: typically made from nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments, it comes in waxed or unwaxed versions. The former glides more smoothly between teeth. Meanwhile, water flossers (a.k.a. oral irrigators or water jets) provide more advanced cleaning by shooting water directly into hard-to-reach places in the mouth. If you have fixed orthodontics or are having trouble with manual flossing, a water flosser may serve you better.
5. Tongue scraper
Your tongue is a hospital environment for bacteria. While not all bacteria are bad, other kinds can lead to several issues – the most obvious being bad breath. Some studies have shown that brushing the tongue when you brush your teeth can reduce bad breath by 70%.
If you want to go the extra mile, invest in a tongue scraper. It provides a deeper clean, scrubbing off the nasty plaque and bacteria on the tongue’s surface. Research has shown that using a tongue scraper for at least two minutes daily can have a “significant effect” on bacterial growth and breath.
6. Regular trips to the dentist
Your dentist is the best person to talk to when discovering how to have perfect oral hygiene. The tools and techniques on this list are essential for basic maintenance, but regular trips to the dentist will offer more comprehensive care. For example, experts recommend professional teeth cleaning (dental prophylaxis) at least once every six months.
People with generally good oral health can probably get away with routine check-ups every 12-24 months, notes the NHS. These check-ups should be in addition to cleaning. If you’re prone to issues like cavities or gum disease, you may need to go for more frequent appointments.
7. Dental treatments
When you go in for check-ups or cleaning, your dentist may recommend other dental treatments to boost your oral health. There are numerous procedures to suit various needs, from crowns and fillings (to save teeth damaged by cavities) to root canal treatments (to remove infections).
If you have troublesome, misaligned teeth, you may want to add orthodontic devices to your list of splurge-worthy dental tools. These devices include traditional metal-wired braces and clear aligners, which both work to straighten teeth and improve one’s bite.
ClearCorrect clear aligners are made of a revolutionary tri-layer ClearQuartz material and includes other customisable features. They are a great option if you want something discreet, durable and comfortable. They’re also completely removable, so you can go about your daily oral hygiene routine with minimal to no disruptions.
Which of these oral hygiene investments are you going all-in on? Remember: health is always a good investment, so you’ll never regret putting your money where your mouth is. (Literally). Having the right tools today can save you thousands in damage control later.
The effect of tongue scraper on mutans streptococci and lactobacilli in patients with caries and periodontal disease. (2005, March 1). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16032940/
Jamwal, N., Rao, A., Shenoy, R., Pai, M. B., Ks, A., & Br, A. (2022). Effect of whitening toothpaste on surface roughness and microhardness of human teeth: a systematic review and meta-analysis. F1000Research, 11, 22. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.76180.3
De Freitas, M. B., De Carvalho, M. M., Liporoni, P. C. S., Fort, A. C. B., De Morais E Moura, R., & Zanatta, R. F. (2021). Effectiveness and Adverse Effects of Over-the-Counter Whitening Products on Dental Tissues. Frontiers in Dental Medicine, 2. https://doi.org/10.3389/fdmed.2021.687507
Toothbrushes. (n.d.). American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/toothbrushes
Erbe, C., Klees, V., Ferrari-Peron, P., Ccahuana-Vasquez, R. A., Timm, H., Grender, J., Cunningham, P., Adam, R., Farrell, S., & Wehrbein, H. (2018). A comparative assessment of plaque removal and toothbrushing compliance between a manual and an interactive power toothbrush among adolescents: a single-center, single-blind randomized controlled trial. BMC Oral Health, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-018-0588-1