Scientists have estimated that more than 500 species of bacteria live inside your mouth. (That’s enough to make us want to jump up and brush our teeth right now!) To achieve the deep clean your mouth really needs, here are four easy things to include in your daily oral-care routine.
Detox Your Toothbrush
Your bathroom is one of the top places in your house for bacteria to go buckwild, and if your toothbrush is exposed, I’m sure you can guess what that means! Using UV light to safely destroy the DNA in bacteria that live on your toothbrush, Violife Zapi Luxe is a must-have for your countertop. It claims to eliminate up to 99.9 percent of germs (think e.coli, salmonella and strep, etc.) after one full cycle—a mere seven minutes. Just insert your brush and press the button—it’s as easy as that. $40, violife.com
Don’t Forget to Floss
“Flossing is critical if you want to help prevent both decay and periodontal disease,” says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS. “Proper flossing can remove particles of leftover food between the teeth that brushing can’t reach. Furthermore, flossing can help clean out the gingival sulcus, which is the gum tissue just below the gum line.”
To remove tooth-damaging bacteria, use the high-tech Pink Waterpik Aquarius Professional Water Flosser ($90, waterpik.com), which relies on pulse-mode technology to really clean teeth. “Flossing with a Waterpik is quite helpful in removing food particles below the gum line that traditional floss can’t get to, like on the fronts and backs of teeth. It is especially helpful if you have a bridge where manual flossing can be difficult to accomplish,” adds Dr. Goldstein.
Switch Up Your Toothpaste
You may think all toothpastes are created equal, but not every one on the shelf is going to give you the deep clean you’re looking for. Supersmile’s Fluroide-Free Whitening Toothpaste ($21, supersmile.com) contains a proprietary form of calcium peroxide called Calprox, which works to get rid of the protein pellicle on your teeth, which plaque and bacteria cling to.
Dr. Goldstein says that generally, you should brush your teeth for three minutes to effectively clean the tooth surfaces, and longer than three minutes if you have gum recession or periodontal disease. “Although brushing after meals is ideal (combined with flossing), doing it at least twice a day is the very least that should be done to help prevent tooth and gum disease.”
Use Mouthwash AND Toothpaste
It may be an unspoken rule that mouthwash isn’t an essential step and that you only need to use it for quick breath refreshers, but that isn’t necessarily true. “This is usually based on your individual susceptibility to decay,” says Dr. Goldstein. “If you are getting decay and are between the ages of 25-65, you will probably benefit from a concentrated mouthwash in addition to your toothpaste.”
According to Dr. Goldstein, combining the two steps can be beneficial in effectively killing the germs in your mouth, especially when food breaks down and you do not effectively remove it. Jasön Healthy Mouth Tartar Control Cinnamon Clove Mouthwash uses natural grapefruit seed and perilla seed extract to reduce tartar (a form of hardened plaque) buildup on your teeth. The antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil help shield your mouth from bad-for-you acid-forming bacteria that can cause periodontal problems if not treated. $9, jason-personalcare.com
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