Dr. Batchelor's Favorite Dental Products for You & Your Family
There are just so many dental health products on the market today that it can be hard to know if you’re making the right choice for you and your family. As a dentist I have the opportunity to try out many different brands and types of toothbrushes, toothpastes and can ask my patients for their own preferences, too.
Based on my years of experience as a dentist, I’ve put together a list of my favorite dental products for you and your family. These are all products that are safe, effective, and easy to use. You shouldn’t have to worry that you’re picking the right toothpaste or toothbrush. So keep reading to learn my recommendations and take the guesswork out of choosing the best dental products.
I generally recommend an electric toothbrush for adults and children who are old enough to brush themselves. Electric brushes are dramatically more effective at cleaning teeth and removing plaque than manual toothbrushes - they can provide 30,000 or more brush strokes per minute, and remove as much plaque and bacteria as brushing for 6 minutes with a manual toothbrush.
Electric brushes can actually improve your brushing habits! How often do you brush your teeth for 2 whole minutes (as most dentists recommend)? Most good quality electric brushes feature built-in timers that turn the brush off automatically at the end of each 2 minute brushing cycle. And most with timers also have features like lights or vibrations that let you know when it’s time to start brushing a new area of your mouth, so you can be sure you’re spending equal time on each part of your mouth. Other models can even connect to apps on your smartphone offering tips on technique and helping remind you that it’s time to brush!
Both Sonicare and Oral-B make great electric toothbrushes. They’re reliable, very well-made, and most importantly they do a great job of cleaning your teeth. Prices vary, but you really can’t go wrong with any model as long as it is rechargeable with a plug-in charging dock. Lower cost models with batteries (that you may or may not be able to change) do not provide the same cleaning action.
Another great feature of electric toothbrushes is that many models accept a wide variety of brush heads, like:
- Floss action heads for deep cleaning between teeth
- Small heads for hard to reach places
- Deep cleaning heads to remove stuck on plaque
In general though, I recommend using soft-bristled general-purpose heads most of the time.
A few models to consider include:
- Oral-B Pro 1000 - A great value at under $50
- Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite Plus Sonic - A really powerful brush that retails for about $90
- Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth - Super high tech model ($125) that connects to your smart phone and an app for tracking your brushing habits.
- Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum - A patient and staff favorite, we sell this one in our office too. Some models come with a brush-head sterilizer, which is a great way to keep germs at bay.
- Philips Sonicare DiamondClean - This is a super-snazzy model with all kinds of tech- and travel-friendly features, as well as a counter-top charging glass.
Don’t forget that no matter which model of electric toothbrush you purchase, avoid using generic or knock-off brush heads. They may fit on your brush but you can’t be sure they’re safe for your teeth!
For the most part, toothpaste comes down to personal preference. Look for an over-the-counter toothpaste with an ADA seal, that contains fluoride (if you want the toothpaste to help fight cavities), in a flavor you like. Toothpastes that also contain potassium nitrate are great for reducing problems with tooth sensitivity.
For my patients who are at high risk of developing cavities, who suffer from dry mouth, or those who are exhibiting symptoms of “pre-cavities”, I recommend a stronger toothpaste.
My favorite is Clinpro, a prescription-strength toothpaste with fluoride, calcium, and phosphate. Clinpro can alleviate symptoms of dry mouth and can even reverse the cavity-forming process.
Benefits of Clinpro Toothpaste
- Contains 4x as much fluoride as over-the-counter toothpastes
- Actually remineralizes tooth enamel for added protection against future cavities
- Safe for all teeth, even those with exposed roots
- A 4-ounce tube will last up to 6 months!
At your next appointment, ask me if Clinpro toothpaste is right for you.
Floss & Gum Massagers
As far as floss goes, my advice is - just use it! Because different people have different sized spaces between their teeth, it’s important to find a floss with a thickness that works for you.
Many of my patients like Glide brand floss. Glide is smooth and flat, making it easier to use and to fit into tight spaces between teeth, which are the spots most people hate flossing!
If you’re opposed to traditional floss, there are some good options for you, too! I recommend Floss Aids (think floss on a stick). The models with long handles make it easy to reach all the way back to the spaces between your rear molars.
I also recommend Proxi-Brushes for people who have wide spaces between their teeth near the gumline (dentists call these spaces “embrasures”). These spaces aren’t easy to thoroughly clean with floss alone, so a small Proxi-Brush can be a big help!
Dry Mouth Relief
Severe dry mouth can be very painful. And there’s no reason to live in pain, especially when there’s a great product that can help you feel better!
Xylimelts are sort of like mints (that stick to your gum tissue above your upper molars) that help stimulate saliva flow in people with dry mouth. They’re sweetened with xylitol which can actually help control the bacteria that cause cavities, too! If you’ve never heard of xylitol before, don’t worry-- it’s a natural sugar alcohol derived from birch bark used to sweeten some foods and drinks.
Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol has been shown to reduce cavities by up to 33%! Xylitol also has fewer calories than other sweeteners, and doesn’t contribute to hyperglycemia the way table sugar does, making it a great choice for many diabetics (check with your doctor first if you have diabetes).
Many of our patients use Xylimelts at night while they’re sleeping to help them avoid dry mouth discomfort over night, when the flow of saliva is naturally at its lowest. I hear nothing but good things about our patients experiences and highly recommend Xylimelts for anyone suffering from dry mouth!
One important note: xylitol is very toxic in dogs, so if you have a pooch at home, keep him or her away from your xylimelts!
Mouthwashes can be great for freshening your breath, controlling bacteria that causes gum disease, and helping to strengthen teeth, depending on the type you use. While mouthwash can’t replace good brushing and flossing habits, many people can benefit from (and enjoy) using mouthwash.
Listerine brand mouthrinses are my favorites. Listerine has been proven to help prevent and control gingivitis (gum inflammation). Some formulas contain fluoride which can help strengthen your teeth and protect them against cavities. The versions that contain alcohol are the best at controlling bacteria, but there are alcohol-free versions as well (which are better choices for some people).
One caveat-- if you suffer from dry mouth, avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes, which can actually exacerbate the symptoms of dry mouth. Our patients with dry mouth like Biotene mouthwash, which helps provide lubricating comfort for dry oral tissues.
Mouthwash can be great for kids, but children shouldn’t use mouthwash until they’re able to reliably spit out mouthwash after they swish it around. The brand I like best for kids is ACT, because it contains fluoride to help prevent cavities in this younger age-group that is particularly susceptible to decay.
Keep Up Those Great Brushing & Flossing Habits
Modern dental technology and the products available today are fantastic and can improve your dental health. But they’re not magic. No matter what tools or products you use, remember to keep brushing and flossing regularly using the proper technique.
Great home dental care habits and regular checkups and cleanings are the absolute best way to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy. If you or your kids need a refresher on proper brushing technique, let me know at your next appointment!
And if you have more questions about choosing the right dental products for you and your family, leave them in the comments below. Or give my office a call at (540)-298-6696 to make an appointment with me.
Until next month, here’s to your dental health!