Minneapolis Dentist Describes Oral Hygiene Aids

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Aug 2, 2011

Shopping for oral hygiene aids can be overwhelming. Supermarket shelves are filled with various types of products, and it can be challenging to determine what’s right for you. Today I’m going to provide a quick summary of the different oral hygiene aids available along with their appropriate uses.

Dental Flosses
Dental floss is the most common interdental (below the gum) cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. Floss helps remove food particles and plaque from between teeth. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.

Interdental Brushes
Many hygienists & periodontists recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning the contours of teeth in between the gums.

Mouth Rinses
There are two basic types of mouth rinse available: Cosmetic rinses, used to temporarily suppress bad breath, and therapeutic rinses which may require a prescription from our St. Paul Highland Park Office. Therapeutic rinses are regulated by the FDA and contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and cavities. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.

Oral Irrigators
Oral irrigators (like Waterpiks) are designed to clean debris from below the gum line. Water is continuously sprayed from tiny jets, helping to remove harmful bacteria and food particles.

Rubber Tip Stimulators

The rubber tip stimulator is an excellent tool for removing plaque from around the gum line and also for stimulating blood flow to the gums.

Toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists because they are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. Manual toothbrushes can achieve similar results but with greater effort and should be replaced every three months.

Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing potential problems, but in-office cleanings are only the first step. If you still have questions, the team at St. Paul Dentistry can recommend the most suitable products for your needs.