Dental Health

We won’t sugarcoat it, taking good care of your mouth, teeth, and gums is important to your overall health. Not only can proper oral hygiene help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease, it can also decrease your risk of serious health problems including heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, and preterm labor.

For parents, it is important to start oral hygiene early in your child’s life. Before your baby has teeth, you can gently brush his or her gums with a wet gauze pad to remove plaque and milk residue. Soft bristled toothbrushes are also recommended for children as it is easier to remove plaque with a brush that has short and narrow bristles.

But good oral care isn’t just important for children. It should be an ongoing part of everyone’s healthcare, even those with dentures or bridges. The first rule of thumb? Keep them clean! Use a combination of brushing and soaking to clean dentures thoroughly at least once a day to remove stains, debris, and potentially harmful plaque. Make sure to only use denture cleaners as household cleaners are not appropriate and may either be ineffective or damage denture material.

Teeth and Gum Care

You can practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, and by eating a well-balanced diet. And don’t forget to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to keep that healthy smile. Detecting and treating problems with your gums, teeth and mouth early can ensure a lifetime of good oral health.

Teeth and Gum Treatments

Did you know that both toothpaste and mouthwash are over-the-counter (OTC) medicines? Brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings should be a key part of your healthcare regimen. Poor oral or dental hygiene can cause cavities and gingivitis and has been linked to other health conditions.

Toothpaste

When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for you, it’s important to consider your unique oral health needs. Despite the many types of toothpaste that are available, there are some OTC ingredients common to most varieties.

OTC toothpaste
  • Fluoride
    Aquafresh®, Colgate®, Crest®, Rembrandt®, Sensodyne®
  • Triclosan
    Colgate®

Mouthwash

When looking for a way to freshen your breath, there’s plenty of mouthwashes to choose from. However, mouthwash doesn’t just cover up bad breath, it’s also important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. While effective brushing and flossing unbind bacteria and plaque from the surface of your teeth, rinsing afterward is important to make sure that bacteria leaves your mouth for good.

OTC mouthwash
  • Fluoride
    Act®, Aim®, Aquafresh®, Colgate®, Crest®, Listerine®, Mentadent®, Oral-B®
  • Menthol
    Listerine®
!

Safe use tips for toothpaste and mouthwash

Brush and floss twice a day, especially after eating

Brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a soft toothbrush

Mouth rinses and mouthwashes can cause serious illness and injury to children if they’re swallowed. These products should be kept out of the reach and sight of children.

Pay special attention to your oral care habits if you are pregnant or nursing and when your child begins teething.

Oral Discomfort

Dealing with pain from toothaches or mouth sores caused by canker sores, cold sores, gum sores, cheek bites, or braces is not fun. Luckily, over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments may help you find relief from the discomfort.

Call your dentist immediately if you have pain that persists for more than a day or two, a fever, trouble breathing or swallowing, or signs and symptoms of an infection, such as swelling, pain when you bite, red gums or a foul-tasting discharge.

Oral Discomfort Treatments

When you feel the pain of a canker sore or need to find relief from a cheek bite, there are over-the-counter treatments that you can use to help ease the discomfort and possibly speed up the healing process.

Oral Discomfort Gels

These medicines can help to slow or stop loose, watery stools. But you shouldn’t take them for very long. You should also see your doctor if you find that you rely on these medicines often. They may help you find temporary relief, but it’s important to find out what is causing your oral discomfort in the first place.

OTC discomfort gels
  • Benzocaine
    Anbesol®, Colgate Orabase®, Kanka®, Orajel®
!

Safe use tips for oral discomfort gels

Always read the Drug Facts label carefully. The label tells you everything you need to know about the medicine, including the ingredients, what you are supposed to use it for, how much you should take, and when you should not take the product.

You should never take more medicine or for a longer period of time than what the Drug Facts label says.