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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

4 Dental Hygiene Accessories to Keep Your Mouth Clean

Dental accessories
When it comes to keeping your pearly whites, well, pearly and white - we know the basic tools required are a toothbrush and floss. In previous blog posts, we've talked about brushing tips as well the most effective way to floss your teeth. But what else can you do to ensure your mouth stays healthy and clean? Of course you should see your dentist regularly, but we've also got four additional tools to add to your at home dental hygiene routine to ensure a sparkling smile.

Mouthwash: The ingredients in an ADA approved therapeutic mouth rinse can benefit your oral health in several ways:
  • Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay
  • Antimicrobial agents reduce bacteria, helping fight off gingivitis
  • Odor neutralizers and astringent salts help to control bad breath
The steps for correctly using mouthwash are pretty simple. Pour around 20 mL into a small cup (unless you are using a prescription strength rinse, measuring an exact amount isn't too critical). Pour the liquid into your mouth (all at once) and begin swishing. Swish around the front and back of all of your teeth, swish under your tongue and along the roof of your mouth. After thirty seconds to one minute, (check the back of the bottle for specific brand instructions), spit out the used mouthwash into the sink. It's important not to swallow the rinse, most mouthwashes contain chemicals not intended for ingesting.

The American Dental Association says there isn't a specific order to include mouthwash into your teeth cleaning routine. As long as you are using quality products and thoroughly brushing, flossing and rinsing - they are as effective in any sequence.

Water flossers: A water pick/water flosser, sometimes also called an oral irrigator, is another way to clean around your teeth and gums, especially if manoeuvring string floss is hard for you. Water flossers aim a pressurized stream of water at your teeth, loosening and removing food debris and bacteria. Some studies also show that water flossers are an effective way to remove biofilm (a tough coating of plaque that can build up around the gums as a result of poor flossing).

Using a water pick regularly has been shown to be a successful tool in fighting gingivitis - inflammation of the gums that can lead to more serious forms of gum disease if not treated. Additionally, a water flosser is a popular method to clean around braces and other orthodontic appliances.

There are several types of water flossers ranging from standalone devices to showerhead attachments. Do some research, read reviews and ask your dentist which oral irrigator he/she recommends to best fit your dental health needs.

Interdental cleaners: Interdental cleaners come in many varieties and shapes. All are developed to help you clean those tricky to get to areas in your mouth. The type you choose to use should be based on the recommendation of your dentist and personal preference. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Interdental brushes: designed to remove plaque from between teeth and other hard to reach areas, popular for cleaning around braces and bridges.
  • Interdental picks: easier to hold than floss, helps to remove plaque and food particles from in between teeth.
  • Dental sticks: a wooden, triangular shaped stick. There are both fluoridated and non-fluoridated versions and they come in differing widths depending on the amount of interdental space you have between your teeth.
Tooth cleaning foods: Some foods naturally help keep your teeth and mouth clean! Crunchy vegetables (like raw carrots, celery and cucumbers) and crisp fruits (such as apples and pears) require a lot of chewing, helping to clean away plaque, and saliva to break down. Saliva is the body’s natural remedy to wash food particles and bacteria out of your oral cavity and remineralize your teeth. Another diet tip to help keep your mouth clean? Drink lots of water! Water washes away bacteria and food particles meaning fewer cavities and fresher breath.

Put these mouth cleaning, tooth saving suggestions to work for an even BRIGHTER smile. Got a success story or favorite dental hygiene accessory that we missed? We would love to hear your input, tips and tricks for a healthy and clean mouth in the comments section below!