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Dentists of the world, I hate to break it to you, but.....none of us floss. Seriously. Yet for some reason we give in to all of the fancy whitening strips and charcoal toothpastes with all of the bells and whistles that come with it. Here's why we should probably stop.

u/you-gee-el-why asked: Dentists and Dental Care Professionals of Reddit, what oral hygiene products out there are gimmicks, and what are some underrated products that people should use more often?


Gum is good....except when it's not.

Xylitol (usually found in gum) is good for generating more saliva, which helps your natural defenses against bacteria (by washing out debris from your mouth). Just don't chew gum so consistently that it f*cks up your TMJ (temporomandibular joint).

ah-dou

You're not joking about the TMJ thing. Started chewing gum more after meals. Mouth feels nice... jaw doesn't.

Curse_of_the_Grackle

Sound advice.

Giphy

Dentist here, another thing nobody has mentioned: if you ever puke, don't brush right afterwards since the pH of your stomach acid can temporarily soften your teeth and you can then damage your teeth when you brush. Instead you should rinse with a baking soda solution to neutralize the acid. and then you can brush your teeth maybe 30-60 minutes later.

Also, I agree. Use electric toothbrush, brand doesn't matter as long as it is a real one that doesn't use a AA battery. Also use real string floss every day. Lastly, cavities come from FREQUENCY of sugar exposure, not AMOUNT of sugar exposure, so sipping a soda/juice/Gatorade/Redbull for hours is much worse than drinking it in five minutes.

Edit: by "real" toothbrush, I mean a Sonicare or Oral B, not one of those $5 jobs from the grocery store that you put a AA battery into.

DustinNielsen

Definitely do this.

Dentist here, imagine if I offered you $10,000 to paint a wall white with no imperfections but you have to wear a blindfold. How would you approach this? The best method to do this would be to start in one corner and work methodically to the other corner to ensure you don't miss spots.

This is also how you brush, you can't see what you're doing so the best method to avoid missing spots is to start on one molar and work your way to the other one in the arch, then do the other arch.

That being said, please go to the dentist every six months. It will help you get the spots you miss consistently as well as screen you for other oral diseases.

OttermanEmpire

Activated charcoal nonsense.

Dental nurse here! Anything 'activated charcoal' is nonsense. Black toothpaste is no more beneficial than normal toothpaste. As long as your toothpaste has fluoride, it's doing its job.

Floss 'alternatives' are gimmicks. Most are intended to be used in conjunction with floss, not instead of. Just floss, it's the most effective.

Electric toothbrushes are your friend, but regardless of electric/manual, make sure it's soft bristled.

rhllordemort

Brush your dog's teeth!

Giphy

I'm a vet, and used to work in clinical practice, so obligatory "not a dentist" but a significant proportion of chews, supplements, pastes, droplets etc marketed to improve your dog's teeth/breath/tartar/etc are unlikely to do much.

Speak to your vet about teeth brushing though - there's actually some data on that being effective if done a few times a week. Oh, and hard kibble tends to be better than soft pouches/tins.

SufficientAnonymity

Didn't even know this.

If you aren't already tongue scraping, you should be. Absolutely most underrated oral hygiene product that most people don't even know about. You will NEVER have bad breath again because you scrape that nasty ass white coat your tongue keeps dressing up in right off! And even if you aren't a smoker you will cough up so much sh*t right after because that nice little phlegm blanket you just spat out was holding back it's buddies in your throat who are now FREE.

Seriously you will never be able to go back, go try scraping your tongue with a spoon right now (which isn't as effective but will convince you to drive to the store right this godd*mn second to get yourself the real deal) and see how good a clean mouth finally feels.

faebugz

Trickery is best.

Not the professionals in question.

When I had my wisdom teeth surgically removed, the guy gave me two pills and told me they "won't put you to sleep, but they'll numb the pain and make you calm enough to forget the whole thing. He gave me two more to take at home, and asked me to wait in the lobby for an hour.

Surgery went ok, but I was fully alert and aware... Yet very calm. They wrenched my head around a bunch and drilled and poked and pulled things. Screwdrivers were used as chisels. Blood was suctioned. Still calm.

At home, I actually looked at the bottle. Those four pills had just been plain Atasol. Not even the f*cking codeine kind. He tricked me.

Many years later, I happily recommend trickery.

MrDatasDoingus

Problem solved.

Giphy

Not a pro but had been having bleeding-while-brushing issues for awhile. Dentist just said make sure to brush and floss but I was doing that already. Read up on it and found out that the oral microbiome is a thing.

Ditched my detergent/foaming agent-filled toothpaste for Zendium (European brand) and Carifree (American brand but formulated to keep PH in the mouth where it should be and uses the ingredient - hydroxyapatite - that most of Japan uses instead of fluoride). Note that both do have fluoride, I just wanted to try the hydroxyapatite as an experiment. Also switched to an X-Pur once a week high-fluoride, alcohol-free, PH balancing mouthwash.


Took about a week and I haven't had bleeding gums since (started new regimen about 6 months ago). Dentist was all blown away at my last checkup and asked what I was doing.

Ofc I use 3 new products so I can't be sure if it's one of them alone or some combo of the three or just the absence of the harsher ingredients. But it's working very well, this is the first time I've had no bleeding issues since I was about 15.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I also no longer rinse my mouth with water after brushing. Just spit and go about my day. That's apparently becoming a thing, my dentist says it mean the fluoride doesn't just immediately get washed away and can hang out in your mouth for awhile to do good stuff to your teefies.

fromthenorth79

That should go without saying.

Don't do meth. Saliva is used to control the pH of your mouth, and doing meth often reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth. Since your mouth's pH becomes off, bacteria can easily grow on the part of your teeth next to your tongue, and eventually this area erodes and the tooth breaks off.

Leonid_Bruzhnev

Important.

Mouthwash/mouth rinse!

When it says it kills bacteria it means for when you use it, bacteria returns in the next 10 minutes.

Basically it makes things feel fresh but nothing else, only regular manual removal (brushing and flossing, can be electric toothbrush) of plaque and food will clean your teeth and reduce bacteria.

I work as a dental assistant for a periodontist i.e. specialists in gum disease and oral hygiene.

(Also mouth rinse after a surgery/procedure is necessary when you can't brush the area, this is the exception).

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