Podcast Episode #4: How to Choose the Correct Dental Product
How to Choose the Correct Dental Product
My name is Melody and joining me in this chat is Dr Sam Ooi, the principal dentist and owner of Passion Family Dental North Lakes. Hi Sam!
Sam: Hi, everyone!
Melody: In today’s podcast we wanted to chat about different dental products and how to choose the right one for you.
Sam: There are so many different products available today, it is no wonder people get confused.
Melody: And the people who market them know just how to catch people’s attention.
Sam: Yes, it is important to read the ingredients in products and do some research before potentially wasting your money, not just be taken in by fancy marketing
Melody: Hopefully todays podcast will help with some of that research. Now, where will we start?
Sam: How about with toothpaste? Everybody uses toothpaste.
Melody: Good idea, there are certainly a LOT of toothpastes available now, the supermarket isles are full of them. We can’t really recommend a particular brand of toothpaste but we can share some helpful facts to guide you in choosing the right one for you.
Toothpastes are generally designed to help clean your teeth, some claim to help whiten them, some to help with sensitivity and some claim to help with your enamel.
As Sam said, make sure that you read the ingredients, some toothpastes have minimal amounts or levels of the active ingredient and will therefore have very little effect on your teeth. Some ingredients may even cause damage to your tooth or gums.
Sam: Yes, look at some of the whitening toothpastes for example.
Melody: Some of the so-called whitening toothpastes don’t contain much in the way of anything that will actually help to whiten your teeth, they rely more on the grittiness of the toothpaste to help remove stains.
Overtime this abrasive toothpaste can wear away your enamel and cause sensitivity. If you want whiter teeth it will be safer and more effective to go speak with your dentist.
Sam: Sometimes all you need is a good professional clean.
Melody: It’s amazing how sparkling we can make your teeth!
Another toothpaste to be aware of are the ones designed for sensitivity. These are a great product and can go along way to helping if you suffer from sensitivity. The thing to be aware of with them is that, opposite to the whitening toothpaste, these toothpastes are not abrasive at all.
This can mean that they won’t be the most effective at cleaning your teeth. If you have sensitivity we would suggest that you brush using a general toothpaste and then apply the sensitive toothpaste directly to those sensitive areas.
Then leave the paste there to do its job, don’t rinse it off. This is the most effective way to use sensitive toothpaste.
In saying all of this, toothpaste is just an aide, it is the toothbrush that does all the hard work. It is more important to choose the right toothbrush and to then brush your teeth correctly, than it is to choose the right toothpaste.
So, if you just want a good general toothpaste just pick one that you like the taste of, rather than one that offers additional benefits.
Sam: That leads us to how to pick the right toothbrush.
Melody: We are always getting asked if an electric toothbrush is better than a good old-fashioned manual one and it really comes down to personal preference and using the toothbrush correctly.
If you have a manual toothbrush make sure you only use soft ones. Often people think they need a medium or hard toothbrush to get a good clean but often these do your teeth more damage over time.
Harder toothbrushes can wear away the enamel. Using a soft toothbrush in small circular motions, making sure that you are cleaning every surface of your teeth, especially along the gumline, is an efficient and effective way to clean your teeth.
When it comes to electric toothbrushes make sure that you don’t just quickly zip around your teeth really quickly, this is where many people go wrong with them.
You need to take your time, at least two minutes, and clean every surface, just like with a manual toothbrush. The main difference between manual and electric is that the electric has the motion built in so they are really good if you have dexterity problems.
Sam: And don’t forget to floss!
Melody: Mmm…now how to pick the right floss? We have noticed recently that more people are using waterpiks. These are electric devises that uses pulsating water to clean the teeth and below the gum.
Don’t be tricked into thinking that these are to floss like the electric toothbrushes are to manual toothbrushes. Waterpiks are great, especially if you have dexterity issues or have braces, but they don’t always do the same job as dental floss.
If your teeth are close together the water is not going to be able to pass through and clean between your teeth, you still need to floss.
When choosing the right floss, once again it is a personal choice. Generally, the wider floss, or tape, is more effective as it covers a wider surface area and waxed floss is great for sliding between teeth that are very close together.
Some people like to use floss picks because they have trouble managing the standard floss. A floss picks is a small plastic tool that holds the floss between two posts. Then there is super floss. Super floss is designed for people with dental bridges or braces.
They come in lengths of floss with one end being stiffened so that it can easily be threaded through to clean under bridges or orthodontic wires.
Sam: So many different types, any wonder people get confused.
Melody: That’s why we are here to help take some of the confusion out!
Next we can talk about mouthwash. I’m not sure about you, Sam, but I have never really used mouth wash.
Sam: Mouthwashes are only really beneficial when you have particular problems. For general day to day use we don’t particularly need them.
Melody: That’s what I have always thought too. Plus they will wash away all the benefits of using a fluoride toothpaste!
Sam: if you do want to use a mouthwash just make sure you use one that is alcohol free.
Melody: Yes, that is important! Mouthwashes that contain alcohol can dry out the mouth and have the opposite effect. The alcohol will kill most of the bacteria in your mouth, both the bad AND the good.
There are some that believe that mouthwashes that contain alcohol can lead to cancer. Definitely make sure you are not using a mouthwash that contains alcohol so make sure you read the labels, look out for ingredients such as isopropyl or ethanol as well as the word alcohol, don’t be tricked by marketing!
What other dental products should we discuss?
Sam: How about we talk more about teeth whitening? We spoke about whitening toothpastes before but there seem to be more and more teeth whitening systems in the market these days.
Melody: There certainly are! I was in one of the local North Lakes shopping centres a few months ago and there was someone with a stall selling whitening trays, I just had to stop and have a chat with them to see what they were about.
Sam: That’s right, I saw that one too. I have also seen something similar advertised on Facebook.
Melody: It really is a worry that people fall so easily for these whitening systems. Don’t get me wrong, they possibly are a good system but they never mention that you need to go to the dentist first to have a good check-up and clean before you use them! They really frustrate me!
How can you do a whitening treatment if you have a build up of calculus on your teeth? You are potentially just whitening your calculus! And what about if you have decay? Ouch! The pain and sensitivity some people must have when using these products must be horrible!
Sam: It is quite shocking.
Melody: Fair enough, MAYBE, if you have just been to a dentist and had a proper clean and have no decay and even then I question how well these ‘home made” trays fit. Poorly fitted whitening trays will allow the whitening gel to flow out and sit on the gum, this can cause all sorts of problems.
No thanks. I would suggest people stick to getting their whitening done with a dentist who really knows what they are doing! And that is enough of me on my high horse! Sorry, but I just get so frustrated with this sometimes.
What’s next? How about over the counter mouthguards?
Sam: Sounds good.
Melody: There are a number of different types available in the sporting shops now and they probably come down to personal preference, some even come with insurance if you are injured when wearing one. The thing to look out for is a nice comfortable fit.
We often find that with the over-the-counter mouthguards the fit isn’t the best and users tend to either not wear them at all or only use them for shorter periods as they become uncomfortable.
Sam: A mouthguard that is sitting in your sports bag isn’t going to protect your teeth very well.
Melody: Not at all! If you want a mouthguard that is comfortable to wear and that will protect your teeth while playing sport, your best bet is to get one professionally made by your dentist.
We take an impression of your teeth and send the models off to a local dental lab, they will fabricate a mouthguard out of quality material perfected fitted to your teeth.
I am sure that the over the counter ones will serve a purpose but when it comes to our teeth, we are not like sharks and can grow another set when these ones break or fall out, I would want the best mouthguard I could get.
Well Sam, I think we have covered the most common dental products.
Sam: Yes, I think we have covered quite a few, so let’s recap.
Melody: Okay, let’s see – read the labels on products to see what you are getting, don’t be taken in by marketing, brushing our teeth correctly is more important than choosing the right toothpaste, if thinking of having a whitening treatment make sure you have an exam and clean first and mouthguards don’t protect your teeth if they are sitting in your bag.
Sam: Well done at summing all of that up, Melody. If anyone has any questions about any dental products they can also give us a call.
Melody: They sure can, we would love to chat more and to help you choose what dental products suit you best.
Sam: Thanks for listening everyone, listen out for our next podcast that will be coming soon.
Melody: Bye everyone, chat with you again soon.