Step into the toothbrush and toothpaste aisle at your local Walgreens and the options are dizzying. You can break it down into electric and nonelectric, but then it goes even further than that. There’s the brush texture to think about, from soft to hard. There are toothbrushes that claim only their angled head can reach the corners of your mouth. Toothpaste might be worse; there seems to be something for every single problem your mouth could have, and then some. So what do you need to get?
If your teeth are healthy, overall, a medium-bristled brush is fine. If your mouth is sensitive, then yes, go for a soft-bristled brush. Some people prefer the hard-bristled brushes, but overwhelmingly, medium and soft are the most popular. If your child has just graduated to brushing their teeth by themselves, an electric toothbrush can be a good way to encourage them to establish the habit. Some electric toothbrushes even look like Crayola crayons — or they have fun characters on them like Disney princesses or superheroes. Of course, adults can use electric toothbrushes as well, but children just starting out may need the most encouragement.
When considering toothpaste, listen to your dentist. Oftentimes, they’ll have a specific brand they like to use, or they can name one that’ll target your specific problem. The most common types are: fluoride, desensitizing, whitening, and anti-plaque. If your teeth are healthy, you may want to choose whitening to get the cosmetic effect, but otherwise, toothpaste is really a matter of asking your dentist. For children who are just starting out, branded toothpaste is usually the best option. They’re often of kid-friendly characters and come in flavours like bubblegum, to get children accustomed to brushing.
Of course, there’s mouthwash and dental floss to consider, but it’s best to start with toothbrush and toothpaste. Establishing and maintaining a brushing routine is the most important step to dental health — then you can incorporate mouthwash and flossing into the routine. Now when you step into that Walgreen’s aisle, you’ll be prepared.