Oral Hygiene Aids
There are a great many toothbrush types available. Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended because electric brushes are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to easily dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. The same results can be obtained using a manual brush, but much more effort is needed to do so.
Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three months because worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are far less damaging to gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle varieties. In addition, an appropriate sized ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice each day.
Dental floss is the most common interdental cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. The floss itself is made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons and can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.
These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning between teeth. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes.
Rinses which are sold over the counter are for bad breath. These over the counter rinses have minimal to no effect on plaque control. A prescription rinse called Peridex is the only rinse that is very effective in controlling bacterial plaque.
Tongue cleaners are special devices which have been designed to remove the buildup of bacteria, fungi, and food debris from the tongue surface. The fungi and bacteria that colonize on the tongue have been related to halitosis (bad breath).
If you have any questions about oral hygiene aids, please ask your periodontist or dental hygienist.