Oral hygiene aids are tools used to keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Some of the common oral hygiene aids include:
Toothbrushes: There are a wide range of toothbrushes available. Dentists generally recommend electric toothbrushes as they are more efficient than the manual ones. Electric toothbrushes have a rotating or vibrating motion to help remove plaque and food particles around the teeth and gums. Replace your manual toothbrush every three months or earlier, if the bristles begin to fray out. Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted soft-bristled brush.
Dental Floss: Dental floss is commonly used to remove the food particles and plaque accumulated between your teeth. The dental floss is made from nylon filaments or ribbon composed of polyethylene and is available in a range of colors and flavors. It is advised to floss your teeth at least twice a day, after brushing. Care should be taken during flossing, as vigorous flossing can damage your gum tissue and cause bleeding gums.
Inter-dental Cleaners: In addition to dental floss, your dentist may also recommend use of miniature brushes, called inter-dental brushes or cleaners. Inter-dental brushes are available in different sizes and gently clean the sides and the spaces between the teeth.
Tongue Cleaners: A tongue cleaner is an oral hygiene aid used to eliminate fungi, bacterial build-up, and food debris from the tongue’s surface. The bacteria and fungi that grow on the tongue are associated with bad breath (halitosis) and general health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and stroke. Tongue cleaners are usually made of metal or plastic and are designed to fit the shape of your tongue. Tongue cleaning should be followed by brushing to avoid absorption of dislodged bacteria and fungi.
Rubber Tip Stimulator: Rubber tip stimulators are highly effective oral hygiene aids to remove plaque around the gum line and stimulate blood flow in the gum tissue. Use the rubber stimulator to gently trace along the inner and outer gum line. It should be stored in a cool dry place and used once daily. The tip needs to be replaced when it begins to wear out.
Oral irrigators: An oral irrigator, also called a water jet or water pick, is a device used to remove the debris below the gum line. By continuously spraying tiny jets of water into the pockets of the gum, oral irrigators can remove harmful bacteria and food particles and reduce the risk of gum disease. These tools should be used in addition to brushing and flossing and not as an alternative. Professional dental cleaning is recommended at least twice a year to remove deeper debris.
Mouth Rinses: Mouth rinses are classified into two categories – therapeutic and cosmetic. Therapeutic rinses may require a prescription and contain active ingredients that fight cavities, bad breath, and plaque to prevent gum disease. Cosmetic rinses may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and are available without a prescription. Generally, mouth rinsing should be done after brushing.
To prevent future dental problems oral homecare procedures should be practiced on a daily basis. Consult your dentist for any queries regarding oral hygiene aids.