Product Review

Oral Health Products

Visit any pharmacy or the health and beauty section of a supermarket today, and you are faced with a large, and many say confusing, array of over-the-counter remedies and devices designed to help you tend to your hygiene and health-care needs.

There are many high-quality products on the market today. There are also many products of dubious value.

Whatever over-the-counter dental product you buy, it is strongly advised that you ensure it has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Over-the-counter dental instruments are dangerous. These include scaling devices and picks. Use of the products, even when following the instructions, can put your teeth and the soft tissue of your mouth at risk of tearing, bruising and other injury. You may also accidentally chip a tooth. It is best to consult our office instead of trying to do a repair job yourself.

Choosing A Tooth Brush

Never before has there been such a dizzying array of toothbrushes on the market. Consumers are inundated with new designs, materials, attachments, and colors.

Whatever toothbrush design you choose, the most important thing is that you use the toothbrush at least two or three times a day. Toothbrushes accomplish one major purpose and that’s to remove plaque. A good quality toothbrush with well-made bristles will accomplish that.

Moreover, the amount of time you spend brushing your teeth is as critical as how often you brush. Many people simply brush for a few seconds, spit, and place the toothbrush back in the cup. It is very important to spend at least 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. This helps to ensure that the brush does not miss hard-to-reach or often neglected surfaces. Use short, circular motion and brush at a 45-degree angle

Following are some tips for choosing a toothbrush:

  • Use a toothbrush with soft, round-headed bristles. Avoid big-headed toothbrushes. Dental associations recommend that you buy a toothbrush with a compact head-1” by ½”-so you can easily reach the small areas of your mouth.
  • Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long and wide enough for you to handle. You should replace your toothbrush at least four times a year-more often if you have been sick.

Electric vs. Manual Tooth Brush

There are a wide variety of electric toothbrushes on the market today. Some are even disposable. A few models have even received positive reviews by the American Dental Association.

Electric toothbrushes, for the most part, can be just as effective as the old-fashioned, non-powered varieties. Some studies have shown electric toothbrushes cover more area quickly because of their rapid, rotating bristles.

If only for novelty, electric toothbrushes encourage more frequent brushing among people who normally hate to brush. They also may be advantageous for people who have arthritis, or for children with braces who find it more difficult to navigate around the appliances with a manual toothbrush.

A few things to remember about electric toothbrushes:

  • Some are expensive; nearly all cost more than a conventional toothbrush.
  • They require recharging.
  • Most people who use an electric toothbrush for the first time may experience a little bleeding from the powerful bristle action on their gums. In most cases, the bleeding will stop after a few uses.

Types of Floss

Dental floss comes in a variety of colors, materials and even flavors. Waxed varieties are easier to use for people with extremely tight spaces between their teeth. Popular flavors of floss include wintergreen and cinnamon. Waxed floss does tend to fray more than unwaxed floss.

A type of material called wide floss can be effective for people with large spaces between their teeth, or for people with delicate bridge work.

Floss can be purchased in small self-dispensing boxes. Floss can also be purchased in special, single-use holders, which are useful for people who have a hard time wrapping floss around their fingers, including those with dexterity problems or arthritis.

Water Picks

There is never a suitable substitute for daily brushing and flossing. 

While some products, including water irrigation devices (or “water picks”), may be useful for specific applications, they do not remove plaque.

Water picks use powerful tiny bursts of water to blast food particles and other debris in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Dentists use professional-grade water picks when preparing a tooth for restoration, or in general cleaning and exams.

People with painful gum disease or highly sensitive gums may find water picks useful for supplementing their brushing regimen.  And people with orthodontia (including braces), have found water picks quite useful because toothbrush bristles often get stuck.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are an important piece of gear for various kinds of physical activities and sports. Hundreds of thousands of injuries occur every year involving the face and mouth which could be avoided or minimized if a mouth guard had been worn (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Mouth guards provide valuable protections for the jaw, face, tongue, lips, and of course, teeth. For example, a traumatic blow to the front of the face not only tears soft tissue or knocks out teeth, but also may force the lower jaw into the upper jaw. A mouth guard can help keep your teeth from tearing the soft tissues of your mouth during a traumatic injury. They also protect you when you’re wearing bridges or braces.

Mouth guards are generally small plastic appliances that safely fit around your teeth. Many mouth guards are soft and pliable when opened, and mold to your teeth when first inserted.

Mouth guards can help prevent a whole host of traumatic injuries to the neck and jaw, as well as more serious problems such as cerebral hemorrhages and concussions.

  Types of Mouth Guards:

  • The kind you soak in hot water and then mold to your teeth. This is the most common type.
  • Custom-fitted mouth guards made by your dentist, and as such, provide a much greater measure of confidence in their ability to protect your mouth and other facial structures.
  • The least attractive option is the pre-molded mouth guard that is found in aisles at sporting goods stores. These may be ready to wear, but because they are not molded to the unique shape of your teeth and mouth, can easily become dislodged

Care for Your Mouth Guard

Your mouth guard needs to be cleaned (usually with warm soap and water) and allowed to air dry after each use. You also can soak your mouth guard in an antiseptic mouthwash to help remove many kinds of germs.

If you don’t regularly clean your mouth guard, bacteria and other germs will grow on the device and enter your mouth the next time you use the guard, making you vulnerable to infections.


For Existing Sunshine Dental Patients - In the Event of a Dental Emergency Call: (315) 681-0100*

*We will try our best to return all calls, but we are not “on-call”. This number is intended to be a resource, and not a substitute for emergency care. If it is a true emergency, please contact your nearest emergency room.

315-779-8080 Fax: 315-779-8085 • 140 Eastern Blvd., Watertown, NY 13601 •

email: sunshinedental@nnymail.com

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