Just before the holiday season last year I was fortunate to do a segment on our local ABC morning show that focused on this question. It was great to be invited and I had a really good time doing the piece. I've done some TV appearances before but despite my best efforts I usually get a little nervous when the lights come up and we're on live TV. This time though, I found I was a lot more relaxed. You could almost call me calm. At first I gave myself way too much credit and thought I had conquered the jitters that come with being on TV for someone who isn't used to doing it very often. But then it dawned on me: I was calm because this is a conversation I have several times a week in my own office with patients. It's probably the most common question that patients ask, along with 'what's the best toothpaste, floss, denture adhesive, etc...'. It's a question that many people want answered because they are overwhelmed with marketing messages that make all sorts of claims about oral health products. Because most people would like to avoid time in the chair treating decay or other dental problems, many people are interested in using a product if it can give them an edge and further reduce their chance of disease. But how do you sift through all this information? As a dentist, I can tell you the answer isn't one you would expect (but here's a hint: it's more about how you use what you buy than the name on the box; more on that later!).
There are a lot of great products out there, from multi-setting high-powered brushes to the tried-and-true manual brush (which itself has transformed some over the years). In the next few posts we'll explore some different options and hopefully empower you to find the best combination of preventative products to keep you out of the dental chair for the dental problems you don't want to deal with while keeping your options open for any cosmetic work that you do want. Next up: 'All Your Brushing Options'.