OTC Products that Make You Say OMG
Not sure what mouthwash, toothbrush, or floss keeps your pearly whites healthy? Our experts weigh in —A. M.
Best Toothpaste: Colgate Total. "This toothpaste has triclosan in it," says Dr. Broome, "which is an antigingivitis, antimicrobial ingredient that no other toothpaste on the market has." In addition to this one-of-a-kind bacteria-fighting ingredient, Colgate Total is also nonabrasive to both teeth and veneers, unlike other, enamelwearing toothpastes.
Best Mouthwash: Listerine Blue Agent. This tooth elixir turns those hard-to-reach, plaque-prone spots blue when they're not cleaned out properly. Dr. Dave Paquette of Paquette Orthodontics says he tells patients to brush normally with toothpaste, rinse with the Agent, and then brush again without toothpaste until the blue is gone.
Best Cavity Fighting Gum: Trident Sugarless Gum. The trick, says Dr. Patrick Broome of Charlotte Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, is to find a gum whose high sugar content—not cotton-candy-flavored Bubblicious—won't turn into bacteria in your mouth. Any gum with the sugar substitute xylotol is a good choice. And while it's more about the ingredient than the brand, Trident just has that extra-minty kick.
Most Kid-Friendly Toothbrush: Oral B Stages. Pediatric dentist Dr. Margaret Lochary of Pediatric Dentistry of Matthews says the key to helping kids brush effectively is to find a soft, thin brush that will easily navigate their tiny teeth, and this kid-friendly brand does just that. "Kids do so much better brushing when their small mouths aren't overwhelmed with lots
of vibration from high-tech brushes," she says.
Least Labor-Intensive Tooth Treatment: Dannon Fluoride to Go Water. While there's been controversy around the benefits of fluoride-enhanced water, Dr. Lochary still insists it's a great way to effortlessly strengthen the teeth of both kids and adults while hydrating.
Best Floss: Walgreens brand. Or Rite-Aid. Whichever you're closer to. The catch? It needs to be the old-school thread style, says Dr. Mike Reimels of Reimels Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, not the plastic flossers that do all the twisting and tugging for you. "Those don't circumvent the tooth the same way regular floss does," he says, "meaning you miss a lot of bacteria and plaque."