Though they’re easily the most recognizable and talked about, your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss aren’t the only tools out there that can help you live a healthy dental life. Due to the ingenuity of many inventors and dental professionals, solutions to age-old problems and enhancements in treatment are happening all the time that improve the standard of care. By incorporating some of these tools can resources into our daily dental hygiene routines, we can greatly enhance the quality of the health of our teeth.
So, whether you got a “failing grade” at your last appointment, or have never had a cavity and want to keep up the good work, here are some great tools that can make your dental care easier, better and more efficient.
Oral irrigators are most commonly known by their brand name the “Waterpik.” Waterpiks are simply devices that utilize pressurized pulses of water to help remove plaque and food debris from the surfaces in between teeth and in pockets beneath the gumline. Waterpiks are an attractive option for many patients because they don’t cause bleeding and studies have shown they still have a significant impact in removing and deterring the spread of plaque. Additionally, because of the Waterpik’s unique ability to reach areas of the gums that can’t be reached by floss,
Waterpiks have incredible utility and effectiveness in preventing the development of gum disease. Though Waterpiks are great, it is still recommended that you floss in addition to using an oral irrigator, because studies seem to indicate that using traditional floss to have a better rate of removing plaque that “sticks” to the tooth when compared to the Waterpik. Regardless, the Waterpik is a great tool to add to your dental routine.
2. Floss Holder
It’s no secret that for many people, flossing is a difficult and unwieldy task to perform with some neglecting to perform it altogether as a result. Yet, believe it or not, some inventor out there sympathized with those who had difficulties flossing, creating floss holders to make flossing easier and easier for those with limited manual dexterity. These “Y” or “F” shaped “wands” hold a small piece of floss between each of their “teeth,” attached to an easy to hold handle.
As a result of these handles, it’s much easier to floss those difficult-to-reach places in the back of your mouth. While most dentists will still recommend a patient use traditional string floss to fulfill their daily flossing regimens, using a floss holder is better than not flossing at all, and using it as a supplementary tool for just those hard to reach spots, can be a great use as well.
3. Mouthwash/Fluoride Rinse
If you’re not already doing it, using mouthwash and/or a fluoride rinse after brushing can greatly enhance your dental health and the quality of care. An antiseptic and anti-plaque mouthwash can be a great defense against dental diseases by killing off and eliminating the bacteria that becomes plaque and causes tooth decay. Likewise, for many people who suffer from halitosis (bad breath), purchasing a mouthwash can be a good defense. Many people with halitosis are simply victims to bacteria that produce noxious “bad breath” odors, and by regularly using mouthwash, these bacteria can be eliminated from the picture.
Furthermore, if your rinse has fluoride as an active ingredient, you can expect even additional benefits. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that aids in the process of remineralization of teeth, which strengthens and reinforces teeth after decay and other forms of damage have occurred.
Nevertheless, despite the benefits mouthwash is not a substitute for traditional means of cavity and gum disease prevention. You should continue to brush and floss even if you choose to use mouthwash or fluoride rinse.
4. Sugar Free Gum
You might be surprised, but the incorporation of sugar-free gum into your day-to-day routine can potentially enhance the quality of care you’re giving your teeth. Chewing gum tends to increase the rate of saliva production for most people, and saliva is very beneficial to the process of protecting your mouth from tooth decay. Breaking down acids that are formed by plaque, saliva helps to support a healthy and relatively acid-free environment for teeth.
Likewise, saliva is one means by which calcium and other important nutrients in tooth mineralization are delivered to the tooth. As a result, indulging in a piece of sugar-free gum following a snack or meal can be a great practice that decreases the spread of plaque and tooth decay in your mouth. However, just be sure that said gum is sugar-free, gums with sugar often add sugar to the mouth which potentially causes more harm than good.
5. Mouth guard
As kids we’re lucky, when we lose our teeth we have another pair ready to grow in and replace it, but once we get a little older, this luxury vanishes as we lose our primary teeth and our adult teeth emerge. Once we lose these teeth, they’re gone forever, which certainly isn’t an ideal situation for most people. Unfortunately, for many people involved in strenuous activity such as a sport, the prospect of losing a tooth is a very real, very possible prospect.
When this happens, a tooth might be salvageable, but this isn’t always the case. As a result, one great way of protecting your teeth from this potential hazard is to regularly wear a mouth guard while participating in any activity that might result in a lost tooth. Likewise, mouth guards have other dental benefits too, such as protecting those who suffer from bruxism (tooth grinding) from wearing down teeth excessively. As a result, this simple device can be your best friend in ensuring your teeth live a long, healthy life.
Dr. Allen Jahangiri is the founder of and practicing dentist at Noble Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, a Katy, Texas-based dental practice. Understanding the difficulty and importance of dental care for his patients, Dr. Jahangiri is constantly looking for tools that can help improve the quality of care for his patients.