1. Does whitening toothpaste work? Yes. Whitening toothpaste does help remove surface stain between professional cleanings to keep the teeth whiter and brighter. (Other products like chewing gum and rinses that promote whitening are gimmicks.) Over the counter products like crest white strips are effective at brightening the teeth. If you’re interested about professional whitening, read more here.
  2. Does that foam I see on Facebook work? No. That’s a complete fabrication. Charcoal was all the rage a couple years ago, now I’m seeing this white foam being advertised. Those people have had $50,000 smile makeovers.  There’s no miracle foam to fix teeth that have periodontal disease or decay.  But, at Dulac Dental, we’re here to fix that for you!
  3. What’s the best toothbrush? Sonicare brushes are undoubtedly the best. Oral B is a close second. All manual brushes are much less effective. Avoid the AAA battery “spin brushes”. If you’re using a manual brush, make sure it’s soft bristle.  Scrubbing harder just wears down the gums.  Small back and forth, small circles with a manual brush.  We all want to grab it like a bat and go to town, which will wear down the gums and cause recession and not help clean the teeth. Get a Sonicare, let it do the work for you. At Dulac Dental we sell Sonicare brushes at cost for as little as $40.  Costco is about the only other place you can find them equally cheap.  I had an oral b for 10 years, it was great; Sonicare is even better. I even bring my Sonicare on vacation.  I don’t have the patience to brush properly with a manual brush and my teeth don’t feel clean without my Sonicare.
  4. Do crest white strips work? Yes. Crest white strips do work. The gel in the strip is similar to the bleach you get from the office. A custom bleach tray will be a better delivery mechanism than a strip because it holds the gel to the teeth better. And in office whitening like zoom is stronger and gets you immediate results.  Read more about in office whitening here.
  5. Does sensitivity toothpaste work? Yes. Any toothpaste with 5% potassium nitrate (a mineral salt that clogs up the pores in the root that cause sensitivity) works equally well. It can be Sensodyne, store brand, crest sensitive, Colgate sensitive… as long as it has 5% potassium nitrate. I personally like the taste of Colgate sensitive the best. Some people can taste the potassium nitrate, I can. It tastes like salt. I think Colgate tastes the best, it doesn’t taste salty to me personally. If you’d like a prescription for a prescription sensitive toothpaste, please let Dr Dulac know. We also have professional strength desensitizers we can apply for you in the office.
  6. What’s the best toothpaste?  Any fluoride toothpaste is equally good. If you like “natural” products, Tom’s of Maine has great fluoride toothpastes. (My kids love their fruit flavors!) A lot of kids don’t like mint and some adults have mint sensitivities or allergies. Go to a fruit toothpaste if that’s the case. We can give you a prescription toothpaste with higher fluoride, but it’s expensive, like $20 per tube if you’re medical insurance doesn’t cover it. If you’re someone who believes fluoride is bad for you (which it isn’t… but there’s no way I’m going to change your mind on that)… then get MI paste from Amazon.  It’s $20-30 per tube, but it’s the only non-fluoride paste that has been shown to be beneficial to the teeth and help re-mineralize teeth.  The active ingredient is calcium phosphate. (See above for questions about whitening and sensitivity toothpaste).
  7. What’s the best mouth rinse? Any mouth rinse with fluoride is good. Fluoride is the only active ingredient in mouth rinse. Avoid any mouth rise with alcohol. Alcohol increases your risk of oral cancer (see below).
  8. What’s the best dental floss? Any floss is good.  Floss is basically a string to clean between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach.  I personally use crest glide.  You can use waxed, unwaxed, “dental tape” (thick floss)… you could honestly use yarn or thread. They make floss threaders to help get under bridges. The floss picks are popular now. They’re a little harder for me to use personally but my wife and daughter love them. Whatever floss you will use is the best floss.
  9. What can I do if I don’t like to floss? Floss is great, it’s the best for most people but there are a number of other “interproximal aids” to clean between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach. There are the floss picks. You can get “proxy” brushes. They’re like little pipe cleaners to clean between the teeth. Butler Gum makes a cool product called “go betweens” that are mini rubber bristled toothpicks. (Please DON’T use toothpicks.)  You can get a water pick or a water flosser to blast air/water between the teeth.  Most people’s concern with a water pick is the amount of counter space it takes, or that they spray down half their bathroom. We sell a tankless, cordless, Sonicare water pick at the office that you can use in the shower or put mouth rinse into even.
  10. What is oral cancer?  Most oral cancer is basically skin cancer in the mouth (squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, basal cell)… bone cancers are exceedingly rare. To decrease your risk of oral cancer: 1. Avoid Smoking 2. Avoid alcohol (and alcohol mouth rinses) 3. Get the HPV vaccine (if you’re not yet sexually active or have not yet had many sexual partners). I do an oral cancer screening every time I see a patient or do an exam. Oral cancer is on the rise.  Despite a decrease in tobacco use, increases in HPV and promiscuous oral sex practices are currently believed to be the cause. The only cure is early detection. I’ve seen it only once in one of my patients in my career, and this patient almost canceled her appointment due to COVID fears. I’m glad she didn’t. Her decision to come to the appointment probably saved her life.