Ready to achieve that healthy smile? All you need to start is a good set of dental tools. Tools like brushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash all can help you maintain a beautiful smile with less plaque, cavities and gum disease. Our experts put together some recommendations for each of these tools, and why they are important to keep in your daily maintenance routine.


  1. Brushes – A good brush is one you will actually use at least twice a day, but if you are having a certain dental issue, you may want to talk with your dentist at your next cleaning about what may fit your needs the best. Oscillating toothbrushes can be helpful for removing plaque, and often can help as well with removing particles that may cause staining later on. Dr. Laura Frangella points out “​​Oscillating toothbrushes minimize technique errors that occur with manual toothbrushes. People often miss hard to reach areas because they are rushing or just don’t know proper brushing technique. Oscillating toothbrushes are designed so that all you have to do is position the toothbrush head in the proper areas, and it will do all the work for you by performing the proper brushing motions on its own.”  Frangella dentists often recommend Sonicare and Oral-B brands for oscillating toothbrushes. If you don’t feel comfortable using an oscillating brush because of sensitive teeth or gums, or cost is an issue, a soft gentle brush may be a good choice for you. Most dentists recommend some type of soft bristle as people tend to brush harder than is really necessary. 
  2. Toothpaste – Most dentists recommend a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is recommended for its remineralizing attributes, having fluoride in your toothpaste will help avoid cavities and tooth decay by keeping enamel healthy and strong. Frangella Dentists recommend brands including Crest, Colgate and Sensodyne. There are toothpastes that are geared to more sensitive teeth, and even some for people with dentures or veneers. For more sensitive teeth, Frangella Dentists recommend Sensodyne toothpaste. Be sure to select one that fits your needs best. Ask your dentist at your next cleaning what the biggest issue is with your teeth, and you’ll be able to narrow down quickly which toothpastes may be best for you. Some people prefer to go a more natural route. Some natural toothpastes can be too abrasive for teeth, so be sure to read the labels carefully to make sure it’s effective in helping with cavities. If you are unsure about whether or not your toothpaste is an effective one, be sure to bring it to your next dental cleaning to ask your dentist.
  3. Floss – It’s important to floss your teeth once a day to get any food particles that may have gotten stuck in between your teeth that your brush can’t reach. Think of it as the tool that gets in the deep crevices where the brush can’t get to. If those particles stay in those crevices, bacteria will build, and that’s when issues like gum disease and cavities can begin. There is the traditional string version of floss that most dentists use for cleanings. These can often come in different flavors, widths and offer the flexibility to use different techniques for flossing. The wider the floss, typically the easier it will be to wrap around your fingers, but it may be more difficult in getting in and out of teeth that are tight together. The thinner string will get in between really hard to reach places most often, but may be difficult to wrap around your finger. Frangella Dentists typically recommend Glide and Satin-floss. There are also floss picks that some people prefer that come with a short string of floss already measured out, and a pick on the other end. These can be helpful for some who may not be able to reach their back molars. Children often find these to be easier than the traditional string floss. Another tool that many dentists recommend is a water flosser, or oral irrigator. These can be effective at removing plaque, often easier than traditional flossing, as they push water into those deep crevices, removing food particles, much like traditional floss would. This might be a good option for those with braces or bridges who may struggle with traditional floss. Frangella dentists recommend the Waterpik water flosser most often. 
  4. Mouthwash – Mouthwash tends to all look alike, so how do you know which one to use? First, most dentists recommend that you make sure it has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval on it. This means that it passes all the standards for safety and efficacy. Mouthwash should include some version of fluoride to help with plaque. Look for one that may target a dental issue your dental hygienist may have mentioned at your last appointment, such as anti-plaque, anti-cavity, or even sensitivity issues. Frangella Dentists often recommend Listerine or ACT brands of mouthwash. Also, remember that mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. It can be helpful post-flossing to help remove any bacteria that may be left from flossing, and help prevent gingivitis and other gum disease; just be sure to use it in moderation. 

Whether you use one item over the other, it’s important just to use what works for you! Any dentist would agree that there’s no such a thing as a bad dental tool as long as it’s getting used. Take care of your teeth, and they will help take care of your overall health! If you want specific recommendations, ask your dentist at your next dental visit, or feel free to call us to schedule your next appointment. 

Fotolia_194988_XS-300x200 The basics: Generally there are two types of floss: Rope and Tape.  They are either waxed or un-waxed. Tape: a flat string usually made of a smooth material: this is the type of floss that we recommend the most due to the ease of use between tight teeth and teeth with a lot of restorative work such as fillings and crowns. Rope: this is usually a braided or round string or rope that can be covered in wax or not, depending on your preference. I tend to avoid this type of floss due to the difficulty of use. Often times if you have tightly contacting teeth this type tends to fray or break more often than a tape will. Specialty floss and floss threaders: There are a series of flosses and floss threaders that are made specifically to be used around bridge work and braces. Super Floss is a brand that I recommend often for patients because it is a thick and spongy  floss with a flexible plastic end that is relatively easy to use underneath bridgework and around orthodontic brackets. Dental Flossers: these are small plastic handles with floss attached at the end, most often a rope type of floss. My opinion on floss threaders is, if you find that you can not or will not use any other type of floss then they can be used. But I rarely recommend them since you lack the ability to maneuver them around the teeth appropriately and can do a little damage to the gums if the patient is not careful when using them. Water pics and Air flossers: these are electric tools similar to an electric tooth brush that either use air or water to force debris out from in between teeth and out from under restorative work. My opinion on these tools is that while I believe that they have improved water pics and air flossers immensely in the past few years, they are an adjunct to the use of regular floss.  The use of regular dental floss is still the gold standard.]]>

Fotolia_194988_XS-300x200Picture this: You’re mere moments away from your regular dental visit, anticipating the question, “Have you been brushing and flossing regularly?” In an attempt to clean whatever might be lurking between your teeth before your hygienist or dentist catches you red-handed, you franticly brush and floss hours before your appointment. Once that dreaded questions comes, you give your answer, “Yes of course I do! All the time! I love flossing!,” but get the distinct feeling that they just don’t believe you. So, how do we dentists know if you’ve been flossing regularly? Being dentists, we can’t stress enough the importance of regular flossing in conjunction with brushing. Flossing is important to your gum and tooth health and when you don’t floss regularly, there are very apparent consequences. The most obvious is inflammation between the teeth. When you don’t floss regularly, plaque, bacteria, and debris sit between the teeth causing inflammation. As a result, your gums start to look pink, puffy and inflammed and bleed easily. The second give away is cavities forming between the teeth. Brushing your teeth, no matter how good and efficient you are at it, will not clean where the teeth meet. The only way to clean in that crucial spot is to floss. If you have any cavities or the beginning stages of cavities, it indicates that flossing is a weak point in your home care regimen. Lastly, the biggest and most obvious sign that a patient is not flossing regularly is cuts or abrasions on the gums, indicating that the patient may have just flossed or isn’t doing it correctly or efficiently. If you aren’t careful and don’t know you’re way around your teeth and mouth, it will show. The moral of the story is simple, make flossing a part of your daily regimen! The benefits to your oral health are tremendous.]]>