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Dental Care Product Trends – Should You Buy the Latest Gadgets?

Posted on May 9, 2019 in Dental Health


Brushing your teeth

We all love to learn about the latest gizmos and gadgets. Do these products actually work? Are they worth the money? When it comes to four of the latest gadgets for dental care, here’s a quick analysis along with a professional opinion from Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, vice president and dental director at Delta Dental of Iowa.

Electric toothbrushes

What is it? A battery powered toothbrush that either has a rotating head or vibrates back and forth to clean teeth.

Benefits?

  • Electric toothbrushes are available in a variety of price points and functionality
  • Sonic, rotating and/or oscillating bristles may mean a better cleaning.
  • Some electronic toothbrushes have features like timers that not only run for the recommended two minutes, but also splits the two minutes into four 30-second intervals for each quadrant of the mouth.
  • Some models have pressure sensors to ensure you are not pushing too hard on the bristles and causing damage to your gums.
  • Subscription based services, like Quip, are available for receiving new brush heads every three months.
  • Long lasting or rechargeable batteries make it easy to travel with your brush.

Dr. Chaffin says: Whether you choose an electric or manual toothbrush what’s most important is brushing properly. If an electronic toothbrush results in more frequent brushing, that is a bonus.  We recommend brushing twice a day, for two minutes, flossing once a day and using toothpaste with fluoride. Check reviews carefully before buying an electronic toothbrush, and ask family and friends what they recommend. If you decide to use a manual toothbrush, we recommend you look for soft bristles with the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Tongue scraper/cleaner

What is it? This manual device is designed to clean the tongue, removing extra particles that may cause bad breath. Many people will use their toothbrush to brush their tongue while brushing their teeth, but others are fans of the tongue scraper.

Benefits?

  • Tongue cleaners scrape away excess bacteria and food particles that may cause bad breath.
  • Scraping away dead cells on the tongue may actually help food taste better.

Dr. Chaffin says:  For some individuals, a tongue cleaner might be an option to improve issues with halitosis (bad breath), to resolve problems with tasting foods or other physical or developmental issues that prevent proper cleaning. This is an individual choice and we encourage you to talk to your dentist if you have questions about tongue scrapers. Bad breath or the inability to taste food can be symptoms of other health issues.

Floss dispenser

What is it? New floss dispensers come in sleek designs to encourage placement where you can see it to remind you to floss. One model is designed to be attached to your bathroom mirror. A quick touch churns out the ideal amount of dental floss with an automatic cutoff. Another floss dispenser has a backlit smile when you have flossed and frowns when you haven’t.

Benefits?

  • Position on the bathroom mirror or sink top provides a visual reminder to floss daily.
  • Auto-cutoff reduces waste and makes it easy to access the floss.
  • Bells and whistles – lights and chimes – help provide small rewards and reminders to floss.

Dr. Chaffin says: Anything that reminds people to floss regularly is a good thing.  According to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of flossers – daily flossers (30), those that never floss (37) and the occasional flosser (32). While one study recently suggested flossing is not necessary, my stance and many professionals agree flossing is beneficial for your dental health.  

All in one toothbrush holder

What is it? The concept is a plastic wall unit to put everyone’s toothbrush in a separate container that provides protection from bacteria and reduces clutter on your bathroom sink. Some models have room for one or more tubes of toothpaste which is automatically dispensed through a vacuum pump. You can even find models that have a timer to make sure you’re brushing long enough.

Benefits?

  • Less toothpaste waste with vacuum pump dispenser
  • Toothbrushes are contained in a cleaner environment.
  • Timer helps family member brush the recommended amount of times.

Dr. Chaffin says: Before jumping into this purchase, look at your family’s tooth brushing rituals. Does everyone brush their teeth in the same space at the same time? Depending on the ages of family members, an all-in-one holder may not make sense for your family. Whatever you can do to make dental hygiene a priority is worth investigating.

So while these new gadgets may be fun, it’s important to remember that instilling good dental hygiene habits is the most important dental decision you can pass on to your children. No new gizmos can take the place of proper brushing and flossing, a healthy and balanced diet, and plenty of water. However, sometimes new gadgets can be a good motivator to develop new habits. When in doubt, talk to your dentist about any questions or concerns regarding your dental health.

If you haven’t been visiting your dentist regularly, before buying a new gadget, make an appointment! Visit our website if you’re looking for a new dentist to motivate you toward better dental health care.