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Be a Wise Dental Consumer
With the wide array of dental care products available, you may feel overwhelmed as you walk down the aisle of your drugstore or supermarket. Here are some tips to help you be a wise dental consumer
Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. Peoples needs may differ, and your dentist is as concerned as you are about choosing products that will help you maintain good oral hygiene at home between dental visits.
Caring for your smile begins with choosing the right products ones that display the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal on a product is your assurance that it has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators and mouth rinse.
Toothpaste that displays the ADA Seal of Acceptance contains fluoride, which helps keep tooth enamel strong and can aid in remineralizing (repairing) microscopic decay. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may suggest using special toothpaste.
All ADA accepted toothbrushes, manual or powered, earned the ADA Seal because they can remove plaque above the gumline and reduce gingivitis. Choose a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice daily.
Choose a child-sized toothbrush for children for ease of use.
Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush will not do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Childrens toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults because they can wear out sooner.
Persons with physical disabilities or manual dexterity limitations may find a powered toothbrush easier to use and more effective for them than a manual toothbrush.
Oral irrigating devices use a steam of water to remove food particles around the teeth. They can be helpful for persons wearing braces or fixed or partial dentures. However, an oral irrigator is meant to enhance, not replace, regular brushing and flossing.
When buying mouthrinses, be sure to read the label. Not all mouthrinses are alike. Mouthrinses can be either therapeutic or cosmetic. Therapeutic mouth-rinses include those with fluoride (which helps prevent tooth decay) and those with antimicrobial agents (which can help reduce plaque and gingivitis). Cosmetic mouthrinses are those that freshen breath by masking odor; by actually reducing the bacteria that produce bad breath; or by neutralizing the odors they produce. If you find that you are constantly using a breath freshener for bad breath, see your dentist. In some cases, bad breath may be a sign of poor health.
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