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Good oral hygiene is a vital component of your health and wellness. “Your mouth is a window to your body, and oral care is so important because it can directly or indirectly impact other organs,” says Jennifer Osei-Fosu, DDS and Pronamel spokesperson. “Poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay or gum disease and can be linked to diabetes, dementia, and cardiovascular disease,” she says.
While you may not be able to control all factors that cause poor oral health, practicing proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, should be part of your daily routine and regular dental checkups. “You should see a dentist once every six months for a checkup, and depending on the health of your gums, it may be necessary to see a dentist four times a year,” says cosmetic dentist Brandon Harris, DMD, based in Phoenix, AZ. “You should ask your dentist if they see any abnormal changes of the teeth (e.g., wear/breakdown/chipping) since this can cause long-term damage if not addressed early,” he says.
Plus, even though brushing your teeth may seem straightforward, small changes in how long you brush and your technique can impact your oral health. “I brush two times a day meticulously and floss once a day—patients who have tight teeth should floss two times a day,” says periodontist Navid Rahmani, DDS, at Manhattan Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. “Flossing prevents dental caries (tooth decay) forming between teeth,” he says. And while Dr. Rahmani uses a soft toothbrush, he recommends that patients who have very thin gum tissue opt for supersoft.
“You should be brushing at a 45-degree angle along the gum line in small circles,” says a pediatric dentist Ashley Lerman, DDS, founder of Firstgrin. “Brushing after a meal is a great way to avoid future dental problems, but the contents of that meal are just as important,” she says. After eating or drinking anything aside from non-carbonated water, wait at least 20 minutes before brushing. Foods and drinks break down to acid in the mouth, so if you brush right away after a meal or drink, you’re actually damaging the enamel of your teeth. “You need to give the mouth time to neutralize,” says Lerman.
These 28 products can help you prevent cavities and maintain excellent oral hygiene.
To select the products, we relied on a panel of dental professionals who gave us their insights based on years of experience, the advice they give their patients, products they use, and personal recommendations on how to build a proper oral care regimen. We also conducted extensive research and fact-checking to ensure that we’re bringing you quality items to enhance your health, wellness, and, in this case, tips and products for healthy oral hygiene.
Made with bamboo, MamaP toothbrushes have 95% less plastic than a typical plastic toothbrush and are also compostable and biodegradable. In addition to helping you maintain a clean mouth, this female-founded company also donates a portion of the purchase of this five-pack to charitable causes, including environmental and social justice groups.
Tom’s Naturally Clean Toothbrush
Sporting an angled neck allows easy access into the far reaches of your mouth. Tom’s of Maine Naturally Clean Toothbrush is BPA-free and made from renewable castor oil plants. Its multi-height bristles help you get into the crevices of your teeth, and the brush’s softness makes for a comfortable brushing experience.
Doctor Plotka’s Mouthwatchers
A travel toothbrush is essential when you are heading out of town or like to brush midday at work. Doctor Plotka’s Mouthwatchers’ easy, foldable design is ideal for popping it into your gym bag, purse, or even your pocket. The brand states that the bristles are 10 times thinner than leading brands, making it easier to navigate the grooves of your teeth.
Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige
“Both an electric and manual toothbrush provide similar benefits, mechanical plaque removal,” says Dr. Marina Gonchar, DMD and owner of Skin to Smile. “However, with a manual toothbrush, the brushing technique becomes much more important in achieving the same result of an electric toothbrush.”
Dr. Gonchar’s favorite electric toothbrush brand is Philips Sonicare due to its ease of use, the longevity of the product, and the variety of settings for different dental concerns. The model 9900 Prestige is on the pricey side, but your teeth will feel sparkly clean. “An electric toothbrush has a built-in circular movement of the toothbrush head, a pressure sensor to avoid brushing too hard, and a timer to ensure you dedicate the proper amount of time to brushing each quadrant of the mouth,” she says.
CURAPROX, the Hydrosonic Pro
Offering up to 84,000 brush strokes per minute, CURAPROX, the Hydrosonic Pro, has seven different brushing levels and three brush heads: power, sensitive, and single. And from one single charge, the brand promises 60 minutes worth of brushing, which breaks down to about 30 sessions.
Dr. Brandon uses an Oral-B electric toothbrush, and the brand’s rechargeable model 1000 is a good option. Its price point makes it an excellent choice for someone who wants to try an electric toothbrush over a manual. Still, it is full of features such as a pressure sensor intended to stymie overbrushing and a timer that ensures you brush for the recommended two minutes.
Colgate Hum Smart Rhythm
While this may not officially be an electric toothbrush, it isn’t manual either—the brand promises that this battery-operated toothbrush can provide 30,000 sonic vibrations per minute. It offers two modes, normal and sensitive, and has a two-minute timer, and you can sync it with an app that lets you track the duration and frequency of how often you brush.
Davids Sensitive+Whitening w/nano-Hydroxyapatite
If you are looking for fluoride-free toothpaste, Davids Sensitive+Whitening with nano-Hydroxyapatite is an excellent option. “Hydroxyapatite is the primary component that makes up your tooth structure; demineralization of this crucial part of the tooth can lead to tooth decay,” says Dr. Gonchar. “Toothpaste that contains hydroxyapatite can help rebuild the outer layer of your tooth before it turns into a cavity,” she says. Plus, Davids has a metal rolling key to help you secure every last drop from the tube.
CVS Health Gum & Enamel Repair
Gingivitis is the start of gum disease, which can lead to infection and inflammation. It can occur when bacteria builds up on your teeth, and if left untreated, it could progress to periodontitis, which may lead to tooth loss. CVS Health Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste promises to help neutralize bacteria as it targets the gum line.
An essential part of fighting tooth decay is using fluoride-based toothpaste. “All toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance must contain fluoride,” says Dr. Lerman. “Fluoridated toothpaste can improve dental health by helping to remineralize enamel,” says Dr. Osei-Fosu. Additionally, fluoride toothpaste like Crest Densify may have additional ingredients that can offer other benefits, such as lessening tooth sensitivity, reducing tartar buildup, or freshening breath. In this case, Crest Densify promises to coat the tooth to fill and rejoin weak spots on the enamel, which may extend the life of your teeth.
Hello Antiplaque + Whitening Fluoride Free
Formulated with breath-freshening peppermint, tea tree oil, and soothing coconut oil, Hello Antiplaque + Whitening toothpaste tubes are BPA-free and contain no phthalates. While the CDC states that the health effects when humans are exposed to low levels of phthalates are unknown, the National Institutes of Health has found that pregnant women who were exposed to multiple phthalates faced an increased risk of preterm birth. The product is also free of artificial sweeteners, dyes, and sulfates.
Colgate Optic White Pro Series Toothpaste
The enamel of your teeth can become stained from years of exposure to beverages and foods such as coffee, tea, red wine, cola, and berries. Colgate Optic White Pro Series is specially formulated with 5 percent hydrogen peroxide to lift surface stains from your teeth. The brand also promises that using the product will help prevent new stains. Dr. Harris also recommends an easy trick that can help to avoid stains. “Brush your teeth before your coffee because coffee stains plaque, and if there is no plaque on the teeth, then there is nothing for the coffee to stain!” he says.
Tom’s of Maine Luminous White
Tom’s of Maine has been around since 1970, and its ethos is “with a mission to Do good. For real.” Tom’s of Maine Luminous White toothpaste helps to fight plaque and tartar, is gluten-free and vegan, and 10% of profits from each purchase goes to charity. Plus, the toothpaste tube and its packaging are both recyclable.
Hello Naturally Healthy Antigingivitis
While the burn that can come from using an alcohol-based mouthwash may seem necessary, cosmetic dentist Daniel Rubinshtein, DDS, advises against it. “Alcohol in mouthwash removes good and bad bacteria, dries out your mouth, and creates an environment for more bad bacteria to grow; this is what causes bad breath.”
Hello Naturally Healthy Antigingivitis is not only alcohol-free but it also doesn’t contain dyes, artificial flavors, or sulfates. In a recent study, the active ingredient, aloe vera, showed promising results in reducing plaque and gingivitis.
Listerine Zero Alcohol Mouthwash
Listerine Zero Alcohol Mouthwash’s minty goodness is the perfect way to zap morning breath. Use after brushing for a cool refreshing taste in your mouth.
Crest Pro-Health Clinical Rinse
While mouthwash is no substitute for brushing and flossing, Crest Pro-Health Clinical Rinse makes your mouth feel cleaner, which could be due to its active ingredient, cetylpyridinium chloride, an effective antimicrobial. Its bacteria-fighting properties make it suitable for reducing plaque and germs that cause bad breath. Crest also states that you can reverse gingivitis with two weeks of use.
Dental Herb Company Tooth & Gums Tonic
Dr. Rubinshtein’s pick is Tooth & Gums Tonic alcohol-free mouthwash. It contains ingredients such as echinacea and essential oils of peppermint, red thyme, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus globulus, and lavender. A 2017 study, which used an echinacea solution, found that it was effective in decreasing the oral microbial flora of patients in an intensive care unit.
Tom’s of Maine Naturally Waxed Antiplaque Flat Floss
“I stress the importance of flossing, as our teeth are not free of debris from brushing alone,” says Dr. Osei-Fosu. “A daily oral care regimen that includes flossing is required to maintain good dental health,” she says. Tom’s of Maine Naturally Waxed Antiplaque Flat Floss, made with waxed nylon filaments, is strong enough to glide between teeth without snapping. This helps to properly remove food particles from between your teeth to avoid bacteria buildup.
Some flosses contain higher levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which research has linked to health issues like cancer, liver and thyroid diseases, prenatal and development issues, and immunosuppression,” says Dr. Lerman. “I generally recommend floss free of PFAS, like Burst. It is made sans PFAs with microcrystalline wax. Plus, it expands when wet to cover more area.
Made with coconut oil and vegan wax, three of our experts recommended this product. Dr. Lerman prefers it because it’s free of PFAS. Dr. Gonchar ranks it highly because of its thickness and fun flavors. Dr. Rubinshtein likes its sponge-like texture because it is “less harsh on your gums and absorbs plaque well,” he says.
Mintly Dental Floss
Mintly Dental Floss comes packaged in recyclable, refillable, reusable glass jars with a metal cap. This plant-based dental floss is made with corn straw and plant-derived candelilla wax and has a minty flavor.
Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0
While regular floss works well, water flossers have their place as well. “A Waterpik is a better choice for patients who have bridgework or wide spaces between their teeth,” says Dr. Rahmani. The Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 isn’t your average water flosser; it brushes your teeth as well.
Quip Rechargeable Water Flosser
Get deep into the nooks and crannies of your mouth with the Quip Rechargeable Water Flosser. It has a 360º rotating floss tip, two pressure modes, two water flow settings, and a large reservoir. The water flosser’s battery lasts up to eight weeks, making it great for travel.
Philips Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser 3000
Get deep between your teeth and around your gum line with the Philips Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser 3000. The specially designed tips have four water jets covering more area in a shorter amount of time than manual flossing, so it’s good for those who are always on the go.
Smile Brilliant CariPRO Water Flosser
With a 155 ml reservoir, which allows 45 seconds of flossing per fill, the Smile Brilliant CariPRO Water Flosser not only has a long battery life—28 days—but it also charges quickly. The brand also offers a 60-day trial, allowing you to decide whether this nifty device deserves a spot on your bathroom vanity.
Crest 3DWhitestrips Professional Effects
Teeth whitening strips have become pretty popular and can remove stains from your teeth. Crest 3DWhitestrips Professional Effects offers 40 treatments that the brand says can remove 10 years’ worth of stains. However, our experts do offer some advice on using whitening strips.
While Dr. Harris says they are effective and safe, he cautions that you should be careful with how often you use them based on your sensitivity level. “Some patients want their teeth whiter than what over-the-counter [products] can provide, and your dentist will have options for you,” he says.
DrTung’s Tongue Cleaner
“I brush, floss, and scrape my tongue with a copper tongue scraper,” says Dr. Rubinshtein of his daily oral care program. And a good option for a copper tongue cleaner is DrTung’s, which is shaped for removing gunk from your tongue without slippage.
Snow The Tongue Cleanser
Dr. Osei-Fosu’s oral care routine is to floss, brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and then clean her tongue. ”Your tongue holds bacteria and needs to be cleaned daily,” she says. Other than cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush, you can also use a tongue scraper like Snow The Tongue Cleanser. While a toothbrush does a great job, a tongue scraper is next-level clean.
- Ashley Lerman, DDS, pediatric dentist and founder of Firstgrin
- Brandon Harris, DMD, cosmetic dentist at Biltmore Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry
- Daniel Rubinshtein, DDS, cosmetic dentist
- Jennifer Osei-Fosu, DDS, Pronamel spokesperson
- Marina Gonchar, DMD, orthodontist and owner of Skin to Smile
- Navid Rahmani, DDS, periodontist at Manhattan Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
This article was fact checked by Morgan Mullings.