A Complete Guide on Dentist-Approved Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss

What is the best kind of toothbrush

We spend a lot of time caring for our teeth and gums, and rightfully so. With an average lifespan of 79 years and brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, we’ll easily brush our teeth about 1440 minutes per year. That’s a total of 79 full days throughout our lifetime! But it’s not enough to simply brush our teeth—the toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss we use matter too.

What you need to know about toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.

One of the most common questions we receive from our patients at Staley Dental is: what is the best kind of toothbrush? This question is no surprise, though, as there are so many varieties in the dental aisle that choosing the right toothbrush can be overwhelming. And quite frankly, having the right tools makes all the difference. The tools you use to care for your teeth should be ones that work for you. But be sure to consider your dentist’s recommendation too. Dental tools approved by your dentist are more likely to help you keep tooth decay on the down low and your oral health tip-top.

What is the best kind of toothbrush?

Let’s start with the most prominent tool: your toothbrush. We always suggest patients talk to us when they need a new toothbrush. We can provide recommendations based on your unique dental situation so that you can achieve the best results. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends both manual and powered toothbrushes.

A soft-bristle toothbrush is usually the best option as it is the most comfortable and safe for your teeth and gums. It’s not unusual for patients to brush too vigorously, and for this reason, softer bristles are gentler on the gums. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage the gums, root surface, and tooth enamel.

Be sure to pay attention to the type of toothbrush purchased for children. The ADA recommends specific toothbrushes for children based on their age. For example, toddlers should be given a toothbrush with a small head, a large handle, and a soft grip. As an example, Radius offers toothbrushes perfect for babies up through toddlers. Once your child is about five years of age and has better manual dexterity, they can use a toothbrush with a slimmer handle, similar to this toothbrush sold at CVS or the BriteBrush powered toothbrush. Around age 10 or so, kids can start to use adult toothbrushes like the Sage ultra-soft toothbrush or the AquaSonic toothbrush.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

As with toothbrushes, there are many different varieties of toothpaste available on the market. But surely, some toothpastes must be better for our teeth than others. We recommend sticking to fluoride toothpaste after age three. The key is in the amount you put on the toothbrush. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest the following amount of toothpaste be used by age:

  • Under age three: Use an amount equivalent to a grain of rice.
  • Age three to six: Use a pea-sized amount.

Ask your dentist for other ADA-recommended options, as toothpaste often contains other ingredients to improve your oral health. For example, you may need a toothpaste designed for dental sensitivity, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up, or preventing the erosion of enamel.

What kind of dental floss is recommended?

Flossing is just as crucial to your daily oral care routine as brushing your teeth. Flossing helps to get between the teeth and gums where your toothbrush can’t reach. Cleaning between the teeth, called interdental cleaning, helps to remove food particles and plaque build-up. Look for tooth floss and interdental cleaners that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Don’t hesitate to try different products until you find what is most comfortable and effective for you. For example, you may prefer traditional tooth floss, or you may find a dental pick a better solution.

Should I use a tongue cleaner?

Your tongue collects a lot of bacteria throughout the day, but many people overlook cleaning their tongue when it comes to oral health. While you can use your toothbrush to clean your tongue, there are tools on the market called tongue scrapers that are explicitly designed for this task.

Look for that ADA Seal of Acceptance when shopping in your dental aisle for a tongue scraper. One recommended item is the Pro-Sys tongue cleaner, as it is easy to use and effectively removes bacteria, food particles, and other elements in your mouth that can contribute to halitosis and tooth decay.

What is the best kind of mouthwash?

Mouth rinses, also commonly referred to as mouthwash or an oral rinse, are recommended for children once they are around age six and can effectively spit without swallowing. The ADA and the team at Staley Dental recommend using fluoridated mouthwash without alcohol. Though many people think that alcohol mouthwashes are more effective, the truth is that they can dry out your mouth, so stick to alcohol-free unless your dentist recommends it.

Act Kids Anticavity Fluoride Rinse or Firefly Anticavity Rinse are great products for kids who aren’t quite ready for that minty taste that is common in rinses for adults. For adults, we recommend Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash, which also comes in a zero-alcohol version.

Pair your ADA-recommended dental products with a professional oral examination every six months

A consistent daily routine is what can help you most effectively win the battle against tooth decay and gingivitis. But, your oral care routine isn’t complete without a professional dental cleaning and oral examination from your dentist every six months. If you are due for your next trip to the dentist, or if you haven’t been in some time, now is the time to get back into the habit. Request an appointment with your family dentist in Boise, ID, today.