How To Keep A Great Smile For Life

These days, buying a new toothbrush isn't as simple as it used to be because there are so many different types and features.

Dr. Nancy Rosen visits The Early Show to help sift through the advertising hype and tell us what features are worthwhile on toothbrushes and other dental care tools or devices. However, nothing replacing flossing, she says.

For good dental health she says brushing twice a day for two minutes is recommended. And says if you are a healthy person, without any gum or bone problems, there is no reason that you cannot keep your teeth throughout your lifetime.

The following is her advice:

Toothbrushes, Battery Powered

Rosen recommends using a battery-powered or rechargeable toothbrush.

"Timers on toothbrushes are great," she says. "People probably brush for 30-45 seconds. This is not enough time to clean your mouth. The recommended time is two minutes. So, the timer comes in handy."

She likes Oral-B 9400 because it has many great features: it cleans, massages, polishes and has a soft mode for sensitive mouths, she says.

She says toothbrushes (manual or power) with characters for kids are a helpful tool for parents to get their kids to brush. Kids like it because they think it is fun. If a child sees their parent using a power toothbrush they will probably want to use one as well.

Here are the products featured on the show with package description:
  • Oral-B Professional Care 9400, has ultimate plaque removal, floss-like clean, customized brushing, superior whitening and polishing in 21 days; 40,000 pulsations a minute and 8,800 oscillation side-to-side to sweep plaque. Price range: $130-$150.

  • Crest "Spiderman" child's brush

Toothbrushes, Manual

For those who like to brush the old-fashioned way, manual brushes have great features as well like, flexible handles, cupped or raised bristles, a larger head with 6,000 bristles or a smaller head to get in small places.

"If you are brushing incorrectly, it doesn't matter what you use — it will not clean well," Rosen says. "This is why it is so hard to use a manual toothbrush the right way. You are supposed to keep the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gum tissue and brush in circles with light amount of pressure. The power toothbrushes do all of this for you. (Except the pressure)."

Rosen notes she is not a fan of large heads and handles. They can actually cause some harm. Because it is so big, you may miss areas in the mouth, she says. "But if someone has a dexterity problem, this can be a good tool rather than not brushing at all."

The following are the manual toothbrushes featured:
  • Crest Multicare — It has an ordinary cup-shaped bristle design that helps to clean all around and deep between every tooth. This looks like a regular toothbrush.

  • Oral-B "Pulsar" — According to the box, it "gives you a clean you can feel." It "pivots and pulses and removes as much plaque as floss." It has flexible "MicroPulse" bristles that pivot back and forth to penetrate deeper between teeth. Gently pulse to lift food and plaque and stimulate gums.

  • Radius Intelligent manual toothbrush — has a timer, it flashes green every 30 seconds to two minutes and ends with two beeps. After 180 uses of the timer, a light turns red.

  • Zooth brush with "Bob the Builder" character — It is designed to help motivate children to brush regularly. It's fun and easy to use.

  • Scuba — It is made by Radius. Instead of the small head and hard bristles of the traditional toothbrush, the Radius Scuba has a large head with 6,000 very thin bristles. It cleans and massages with less trauma, allowing you to brush longer and more comfortably.

  • Aquafresh — Active tip adapts to each tooth. It also allows the brush to reach and easily adapt to the shape of the whole mouth for a thorough and effective clean. Carefully rounded multi-angled X-Active Bristles loosen and sweep away plaque on and in between teeth. An ergonomically shaped handle is specially designed to fit your hand and enable a precise and comfortable grip.


Toothpaste

"I tell all of my patients that I do not really care what brand of toothpaste they use, but it must have fluoride in it," Rosen says. "The 'whitening,' 'baking soda' and 'peroxides' help remove some surface stain. They do not bleach the teeth."

Here are the products featured:
  • Colgate "Total" — The packaging says "anticavity fluoride and antigingivitis toothpaste, long lasting fresh breath protection, fights tartar buildup."

  • Aim — Cavity protection, gel

  • Aquafresh "Extreme Clean Empowerment" — also has whitening

  • Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste — safe to swallow, fluoride-free, fruity taste

Floss
  • Oral-B Ultrafloss

  • G-U-M expanding floss — It is thin and easy to insert, and expands during use to clean more tooth surfaces

Mouth Rinse

If you are brushing and flossing, Rosen says mouth rinse is optional. But if you want to use it she recommends one without alcohol.

"Alcohol in mouth rinse will burn and/or dry the gum tissue out, and bacteria love this type of environment," she says.

Here are the products featured:
  • Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic — It has alcohol

  • Duane Reade Anti-plaque — It is a pre-brushing dental rinse

  • Tom's of Maine — It offers natural cleansing, and it is alcohol-free.