Oral hygiene is something most people are taught from a young age. However, Finding the right Oral Hygiene products for your needs can be difficult.
The purpose of Oral Hygiene is to remove or prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque. Keeping your mouth and teeth clean of food debris prevents dental caries and periodontal disease which may help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, diabetes, and more.
Oral Health begins with clean teeth. Keeping the area where your gums meet the teeth clean can prevent gum disease while keeping your tooth surfaces clean can help you avoid cavities and gum disease.
Oral Hygiene Products Recommended By Dentists
After talking at length with our Dentists Dr. Vidur Kumar and Dr. Sanjami Arora and a few other experts, we have shortlisted the best and must-have Oral Hygiene products for you.
Both told us that Oral hygiene begins with brushing basics and brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time is of utmost importance.
Dr. Vidur Kumar also says, “Make sure that you brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth and along the gum line. It is also important to brush the last thing at night as you produce less saliva when you sleep and this leaves the mouth more at risk from tooth decay”.
Dr. Vidur recommends a toothbrush with small to medium-sized heads with soft to medium rounded bristles for adults if using a manual toothbrush. And a toothbrush with a smaller head for children.
Dr. Sanjami suggests brushing at least one hour after eating to prevent enamel from eroding as eating and drinking foods containing sugar and acids weakens the enamel on your teeth. And to start brushing from hard-to-reach areas of your mouth like from your molars as they are more susceptible to cavities because of the grooves in them. Do not brush and floss more than twice a day as that can damage your gums and enamel.
A toothbrush gets worn out, especially if you brush your teeth properly. Round and round and up and down is the best way to brush. When you see the bristles bending over and getting frayed, it is time to buy a new toothbrush. Anyways, a toothbrush should be replaced every 2-3 months. It is also important to replace your toothbrush after suffering from any mouth ulcers or cold sores. Your toothbrush can harbor bacteria and viruses for days, which may in turn reinfect you. The same goes for a cold or flu virus. The principle is to replace brushes after any illness.
Colourful toothbrushes and brushes with images of popular characters attract kids to get excited about brushing their teeth. Let your children choose their favorite brush. Below is our favorite on Amazon. Click on the image to buy.
Dr. Vidur told us that Electric toothbrushes with rotating and oscillating heads are recommended for people who have limited movement or find cleaning particularly difficult like very young children or the elderly who need assistance. He highly recommends power toothbrushes from Oral B which have built-in timers to help you brush for the correct amount of time and the built-in sensors help detect too much pressure being applied. Also, the small rotary head in Oral B is very good in reaching far areas of the mouth. Oral B has 4 series in Electric Toothbrushes – iO Series, Smart Series, Pro Series and Vitality Series. iO Series is the latest with advanced features like AI recognition, Interactive Display etc.
There are of course newer brands of Electric Toothbrush that claim to have high performance. Agaro Electric Toothbrushes are apparently one of the bestsellers on Amazon. They also have a range for kids as seen below.
There are different kinds of toothpaste available in the market for different needs. The main function of toothpaste is to remove plaque from the teeth and of course leave a fresh feeling in the mouth.
There are toothpaste for gum health, sensitive teeth, ones with anti-bacterial agents, and some which help to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth. Dentists recommend using any good toothpaste like Colgate, Oral B, Sensodyne, or ayurvedic ones like Dabur and Patanjali.
Colgate has a wide variety in the market today, they have different kinds of toothpaste for different concerns like sensitive teeth, herbal, whitening, fresh breath, etc. Sensodyne is especially recommended for sensitive teeth.
Teeth Whitening/ Bleaching
There are toothpaste that can help to remove staining. These are often called whitening toothpaste. However, it’s important to know that these kinds of toothpaste can only help you to restore the original shade of your teeth and will not change their natural color. A good option for stained teeth is Colgate Visible White
Bleaching is another way to whiten your teeth. Risks associated with tooth whitening include tooth sensitivity and damage to the roots of teeth. Dentists may be able to predict if you will have problems with or sensitivities to the procedure. They also may be able to help relieve you of sensitivity by recommending certain procedures and toothpaste designed to treat sensitive teeth. Dr. Vidur is against bleaching unless there is gross discoloration.
When layers of plaque build up on teeth, they harden and form a tough mineral substance called tartar also referred to as calculus. Bacteria can live within tartar and cause dental diseases. A dentist uses a procedure called scaling to remove tartar. After scraping off the hard tartar with specially designed dental instruments, the dentist polishes the teeth. Dental polishing can remove surface stains on teeth leaving them shiny and smooth. It is usually done using a small, soft rubber cup and polishing paste. Dentists use grit pastes to fill the rubber cup that delivers the paste to the tooth surface depending on the level of build-up. Your dentist can also use an air-polishing procedure to polish your teeth. air polishing uses a jet of air, water, and an abrasive agent to remove stains, which is just as effective as polishing with a rubber cup.
Although tooth polishing isn’t essential, it can help patients feel confident about their teeth and encourage good oral care habits. If your teeth have surface stains, speak to your dentist about whether polishing would improve their appearance. In case you wish to do this on your own, there are electric teeth polishing kits available on Amazon which gently and effectively remove tough surface stains from smoking, coffee, tea, wine and food that normal brushing doesn’t remove.
Another teeth whitening alternative for sensitive teeth is whitening strips. If you have sensitive teeth these might work for you. Whitening strips bleach surface stains. However, using whitening strips very often will lead to tooth sensitivity over time, and might damage tooth enamel. These strips are mostly used to remove tea, coffee and smoking stains. They come in strips for both upper and lower teeth and are easily Available on Amazon.
Brushing can only clean three of the five surfaces of your teeth, so it’s important to clean between your teeth everyday. What oral hygiene products you can use to clean between your teeth depends on the gap between the teeth. It is best to consult your dentist before opting for adjuncts like interdental brushes, Dental floss or Oral Irrigators
Flossing helps to remove food particles and plaque from between your pearly whites and under the gumline. Teeth can decay and gum disease can develop when plaque isn’t removed. Dental floss is generally recommended when the gap between your teeth is tight. You can also use floss harps. These have floss attached to handles which make flossing easier and more comfortable to hold. Recent studies has shown that flossing helps to prevent heart attack or stroke.
If you’re going to invest the time to floss on a daily basis, make sure you’re flossing correctly.
Interdental Brushes can be used when there is a gap between your teeth. Here flossing will not be helpful. Your dentist can suggest Interdental brushes depending on the gap between your teeth. These can be on long or short handles and can be colour coded for the different-sized gaps between your teeth. Recommended ones are OralB, Tepe and Interprox.
Learn the right technique of using interdental brushes Here.
Water Pick/ Oral Irrigators
Water flossing is another way to clean teeth. This method incorporates a hand-held device that removes food from between teeth using steady water streams. Water flossing is a substitute for traditional flossing for people who have difficulty holding string floss or who have dental work, such as braces and implants, where maneuvering floss in between teeth can be tricky. Dr. Vidur suggests Waterpick and Caresmith .
Breath Fresheners: Making Sense Of Rinses, Mints, Gums And Sprays
Mouthwashes are not substitutes for brushing and should be used only as an adjunct. Medicated Mouthwash like Betadine and Chlorhexidine are mostly used to decreases bacteria in your mouth. They can reduce inflammation, swelling, and bleeding from gingivitis. The ones containing Chlorhexidine are particularly effective at treating gum infections These are medicated and not for routine use.
Non-medicated mouthwash can be used as a part of your daily oral health routine to keep your mouth fresh. Mouthwashes contain anti-bacterial ingredient to help reduce plaque and prevent gum disease. Also fluoride to help prevent decay and freshen your breath. Some of them contain alcohol as well to enhance the taste and to add to the anti-bacterial effect. . Listerine and Colgate are leading non-medicated mouthwashes available in India.
Sugar-Free Gums & Mints
Sugar-free gums & mints helps protect teeth and gums in between meals when it is not possible to brush. Chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes after eating or drinking, helps your saliva to wipe the acid more quickly. The acid is produced when we eat or drink leading to tooth decay and dental erosion. Chewing sugar-free gum also helps to increase the flow of saliva reducing the problem of dry mouth and bad breath.
Oral Sprays are best used sparingly. Their alcohol concentration will dry out the mouth and cause an odor. Look for a mouth spray that does not contain alcohol and contains xylitol instead, as it helps to neutralize the acids in your mouth and can kill cavity-causing bacteria. Overuse of these sprays could lead to drying. Ayurvedic sprays you could try are Sviz Minto Fresh by Smyle and Colgate’s Vedshakti.
However, all these are temporary and one should understand what is causing halitosis. Perhaps it’s just poor oral hygiene which needs correction. Other things that can influence the breath are infected sinuses, acid reflux, or GERD- gastroesophageal reflux. When dealing with halitosis, the best option is to have a dental examination to determine the cause and whether the factors are local or systemic.
Oil pulling is a great supplementary Ayurvedic treatment if its an add-on to good oral hygiene, While it cannot replace brushing or flossing, it can reduce gum inflammation. This ancient Ayurvedic practice is gaining a lot of popularity as its being endorsed by celebrities like Anushka Sharma, Shilpa Shetty Kundera and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Here’s what you need to know,
The ancient art of Oil pulling involves gargling with oil for about 10-15 minutes on an empty stomach in the morning for oral health benefits. Moreover, it is also beneficial in detoxification of our body by removing all the toxins from our digestive tract.
The mechanism of swishing acts is a powerful cleansing movement. The oil’s sticky texture acts like glue and picks up the germs in the mouth, so when you spit it all out at the end, you’re able to spit out the toxins too.
Traditional practitioners vouch by this method for easing out symptoms of migraine, stress headaches, and even asthma. Coconut oil is the number one choice for this daily morning ritual owing to its strong anti-bacterial properties. One can also choose virgin, olive or sunflower oils.
Gum diseases like periodontitis can be caused due to bacterial infection, so the anti-bacterial qualities in sesame or coconut oil can help considerably,. Gingivitis, which leads to red and swollen gums, is due to the bacteria in plaque and swishing the oil around may help dislodge some of the buildup. Experts says that bacteria and germs in the mouth can cause inflammation and infection in the body, which can be passed on to the rest of the body through the digestive tract. Getting rid of these in the first place can reduce the risk of it upsetting the pH levels throughout.
According to Ayurveda, the healthy fats in the oil signal the stomach to produce less acid, which balances excess dosha in the digestive system, Oil has a property of reducing inflammation and this is another reason why it could be good for cardiac health and supporting brain function and better cognition by stimulating the nervous system, The process of oil pulling can create warmth inside your mouth due to the improved circulation and this can also help in draining the sinuses, reducing headache symptoms in the process.
How to do it?
- Take a tablespoon of either coconut, sunflower or olive oil on empty stomach and swish it around your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do not swallow it.
- Wait till the oil turns frothy and spit it out.
- Rinse the mouth and brush properly with a toothpaste.
Tongue scrapers are used to remove extra particles from the tongue, that cause bad breath. These are made from plastic, copper or stainless steel. Tongue scraping can give you improved taste, fresher breath and an improved overall health. However make sure these are not too hard on your tongue. You can also use your regular toothbrush to clean your tongue.
Clean your dentures by brushing and soaking them every day in a denture cleaning solution. Brush your dentures first, to remove any bits of food then use a non-abrasive denture cleaner. Make sure to brush all the surfaces of the denture, including the surface that fits against your gums especially if you use dental fixative.
Denture Fixatives are products which help to stick or hold a denture in place and stop it from moving around and causing irritation and sores. Fixatives come in different forms, creams, powders and strips.
When these best practices for proper oral hygiene are ignored, they can lead to other issues like heart disease, cancer and more.
Trends in Oral Care
This year, Oral care has taken dominance and the attention has moved from just the lips to the teeth, gums and smile. The oral care industry now looks a lot like the skin care industry and awareness about the importance of oral health is on the rise. In 2020-2021, online working and online learning and video calls has brought our attention onto our smile. People are also paying more attention to the ingredients that go into their oral care products. and oral care industries are coming out with innovative products to draw attention of the consumers. Earlier it was assumed that all oral care products were the same, however now consumers are looking for oral hygiene products which are tailored to their need. This stems from the fact that most oral health conditions are preventable or treatable through commercially available products. Companies are expanding their oral care portfolio and entering new and niche categories such as mouth sprays, Ayurvedic mouth cleansers and mouthwashes as consumer concerns around general hygiene continue to sustain. Colgate Palmolive (India)Ltd. and Dabur India have both launched pulling oil which is an Ayurvedic oral hygiene technique.
In India, Colgate-Palmolive, Hindustan Unilever, Dabur and GSK compete with Brands like Colgate, Pepsodent, Meswak and Sensodyne respectively. Now with the pandemic, Ayurveda is once again gaining popularity and brands are capaitalizing on the trend. Thus we see new innovative ideas in making the products nature friendly or organic be it natural ingredients in toothpaste or bamboo toothbrushes or even recyclable plastic toothpaste tube. With these changing trends, the market for oral hygiene is expanding and growing.
We would be reviewing all Oral Care Brands. Keep following this space for more information.
TikTok user and fourth-year dental student Sukhmani (@thatdentalgal_ said in a video that’s gone viral that dentists can tell if you’re pregnant just by looking in your mouth. “This is not only due to the nausea and enamel erosion but due to something called pregnancy gingivitis which is seen in 30 to 50% of pregnant patients,” she says.