Dental Buyer’s Guide at Dr Sajan’s Victoria BC Dental Clinic
If you have been through the dental aisle in your local Victoria, BC pharmacy or grocery store (and we hope you have), you may have noticed that there are a huge amount of options for everything dental. There are numerous choices for toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwashes and cosmetic tooth whitening. All of these options may cause some confusion. You might be wondering, “Which material is right for me?”. While different dentists in Victoria BC might have different opinions about which one is best, we have put together a brief guide to let you know which ones we recommend at our dental office.
The best toothbrush is an electric oscillating toothbrush, such as the Phillips Sonicare or the Oral-B Professional Series. These toothbrushes allow for the most thorough clean. They are able to clean better at the gum line and in between the teeth. They also have timers and different programs built in to keep track of how long you are brushing and how much pressure you are putting on your teeth. The other thing that these brushes offer is a small brush head. The small brush head allows the brush to get in to harder to reach areas, for a more effective clean.
If an electric toothbrush is out of your price range, we recommend a manual brush with Soft or Ultra Soft bristles. Using bristles that are too stiff or hard will cause wear on the teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities. Too much pressure can also cause damage to your gums. When choosing a toothbrush, it is advisable to find one with a small brush head. Again, it allows the brush to reach into hard to reach areas for a better clean.
The best toothpaste to use is dependent on who is using it. The most important thing for the toothpaste is to be fluoridated. Fluoride provides strength to the teeth, which is especially important in Victoria because our water system is not fluoridated.
For babies, use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. The amount to use is a tiny rice sized amount. To get this, hold the tube of toothpaste upright and gently squeeze the paste out, continue by gently gliding the bristles of the brush over the paste. For toddlers, a small pea sized amount of toothpaste is recommended. There are special toothpastes created for kids that have many of the same ingredients as those for adults, but usually have more kid friendly tastes or packaging.
For adults, there are numerous toothpaste options. For the average adult, using any fluoridated toothpaste would be fine. Some people are more prone to cavities, and thus may require a higher fluoride content toothpaste, such as ClinPro or Prevident. For those who suffer from sensitivity, we recommend a sensitivity toothpaste with fluoride. The different sensitivity toothpastes (Colgate, Crest and Sensodyne) work differently. Some will work better for certain people, and other types will be better for others. If you suffer from dentin hypersensitivity, we recommend trying a couple of different types and seeing which one works best for you. We have samples in our office if you ever have any questions or would like to try one.
There is no simple answer to this question. There are many different types of floss and which one is best depends on the individual who is using it. For those with very tight contacts, we recommend a waxed floss. This allows the floss to slide in between the teeth. If you have an average contact, we recommend an unwaxed floss. For people who have spaces between their teeth, or a history of periodontal disease where the openings between the teeth are much larger, we recommend dental tape. This is much thicker and will do a better job of cleaning between the teeth. If you have some tight and some not so tight spaces between your teeth, we recommend an expanding floss. This type of floss opens up for large areas and will become very thin for tight spaces. For those who have issues with dexterity, or who have trouble accessing their back teeth, we recommend an interproximal brush (such as a soft-pick). It is important to be careful with the interproximal brushes as being too aggressive with these can case trauma to the gums.
If you are not sure which floss is best for you, ask one of our team members during your next appointment and we will provide you with our recommendation and a sample of floss.
The best mouthwash is dependent on the needs of the person using it. For most people, we recommend a non-alcohol based mouthwash. Many of these non-alcohol based mouthwashes (such as Listerine Antiseptic) use essential oils that have been proven to improve oral health. For those who are prone to cavities, we recommend a non-alcohol based mouthwash with fluoride. That includes Listerine with Fluoride, X-Pur OptiRinse and Colgate ProHealth mouthwashes. If you are prone to gum disease, we recommend a mouthwash with Chlorhexidine. These include X-Pur Chlorhexidine rinse, or Oro-Cleanse which is available at our office.
Oil pulling is becoming more and more popular in Victoria. Studies have shown that oil pulling is effective when used in conjunction with (not instead of) traditional brushing and flossing. However, the oil being used must meet certain requirements. The oil must be sugar free, natural and preferably organic. The oil showing the best results in studies is coconut oil.
Oil pulling is completed by placing one tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and vigorously swishing it around in your mouth for 15 minutes. If you are new to oil pulling, start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 15. Once your time is up, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with water.
We get asked this question quite frequently at our office. As with most things in dentistry, it depends on your needs.
Whitening Toothpastes: Toothpastes that market whitening abilities have been shown to produce slight changes in color over time. These are best used for maintenance of color.
Whitening Strips: Whitening strips are great for those who want to whiten a few shades. However, the strips do not work for everyone, and the composition of some people’s saliva makes it difficult for the strips to adhere to the teeth.
Professional At Home Kits: Professional at home kits provide the most flexibility and some of the best and longest lasting results. They work with trays that are custom fit to your mouth and a solution that will whiten the teeth.
In-Office Whitening: In office whitening is great for those who require fast results. If you have a big event (wedding, graduation, etc.) that is coming up in a few days, this option whitens your teeth within an hour. However, this option also shows a relapse in color in a few months. At our Victoria, BC dental clinic, we often supplement the in-office whitening with a take home kit so that our patients can do shade maintenance when needed.