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Dental hygiene is something most people learn about from a young age. And while frequent cleanings at the dentist are essential to oral health, if you're currently practicing social distancing, it's also the perfect excuse to make sure you're taking extra good care of your teeth.
Shop TODAY asked Dr. Lawrence Fung of Silicon Beach Dental to share his tips on how to take care of your teeth in between appointments. He shared his top oral care tips and favorite products — from mouthwash to floss — on our Instagram page, but you can also check out his picks below too.
Fung recommends trying toothpaste tablets as an alternative to using a tube of toothpaste, especially if you're sharing one tube with the whole family.
"Everyone should use toothpaste tablets," said Fung. "They are very easy to use and taste and perform just like regular toothpaste."
He said that one of the best characteristics of tablets is that they prevent cross-contamination — noting that this is extremely important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The toothpaste tablets from Hello are formulated with natural peppermint, tea tree oil and coconut oil to remove plaque and whiten teeth. Fung says to look for ones that have hydrated silica, an active ingredient that gives the tabs a mild abrasiveness to brush away stains effectively.
"These little tabs are just super easy because all you have to do is chew on them, they start to foam and you just brush like normal," he explained.
Using an electric toothbrush is an effective way to tackle hard-to-reach places when brushing your teeth. Fung says that the more expensive ones aren't necessarily better quality, but that you'll want to find one that fits in your mouth comfortably, making it easier to brush away bacteria.
Fung owns an Oral-B brush and loves that the spinning head can reach every nook and cranny in the mouth.
"Like a regular toothbrush, you should replace your brush head about every three months. But if the bristles are fraying before you hit that three-month mark, go ahead and change it," he advised.
Flossing is an essential step in your oral health routine because it helps eliminate plaque and prevent gum disease.
"Not only does plaque cause bad breath, but all that trapped bacteria can also lead to gingivitis," noted Fung. "There’s a lot of studies showing the linkage between gingivitis and heart disease, so that’s why it’s important to floss."
Cocofloss comes in fun flavors like mint, strawberry, coconut and orange. It's also coated in coconut oil, which helps gently scrub away plaque.
Fung loves the unique flavors because they encourage people to floss consistently and correctly. "You want to floss at minimal twice a day, but you can also floss after each meal to floss away any food that’s stuck between your teeth," he explained.
Incorporating mouthwash into your routine is a simple way to fight against germs, bad breath, plaque and gingivitis.
"Recently, there's been a lot of linkage between gum disease and heart disease," said Fung. "So, another way to keep your risk low is with the use of a mouth rinse."
Fung recommends using the Listerine brand which includes essential oils. This one is infused with a cool mint flavor to reveal fresh breath instantly. He mentions that this brand has been proven to combat gingivitis when used once a day for 30-second rinses.
Getting kids to brush their teeth consistently can be a tough task, but Fung says that finding a toothpaste with fun flavors can help.
"I find that kids resonate with tasty, natural flavors like strawberry, watermelon and apple — and if they don't view it as a chore," he said. He also mentioned that it's important for parents to start instilling good oral health hygiene habits early.
The Hello brand makes kids' toothpaste in exciting flavors that encourage teeth brushing.
We asked Fung what to look for in an effective toothpaste for the little ones: "I recommend fluoride in toothpaste for kids. Fluoride helps build stronger teeth and helps prevent tooth decay that leads to cavities. Since kids like sugar, that’s super important."
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