Sep 7, 2022

Navigating The Oral Hygiene Isle

A healthy mouth is part of a healthy life, but navigating the toothpaste isle can be very confusing. What kind of toothbrush works the best? Which toothpaste to use? What are those strange tools. I hope to help and simplify some of that for you.


For most people a soft-bristled toothbrush is a good choice. Brushing vigorously and using a medium or hard toothbrush can damage the gums and the tooth with repetitive brushing. Although harder bristles can leave teeth feeling clean, they will strip the gum away from the tooth and cause gum recession. The tooth surface can also be worn down with long term use of harder bristle brushes. Using a soft and or an extra soft toothbrush will do the trick if the proper technique and enough time is given to brush.

Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist which brushing technique works best for you.

Electric toothbrushes using either vibration or circular motions are fantastic tools and help most of us by taking the guess work out of proper technique. These brushes work well for almost everyone including children. Most have time and pressure indicators for their basic models. We all love our gadgets, but when it comes to toothbrushes the basic models work well and the bells and whistles are nice but not necessary. However the rechargeable toothbrushes have their advantages over the battery operated type.


The toothpaste isle can be very intimidating. There are many products available, and in my opinion keeping it simple is best. For young children please avoid toothpaste with fluoride. There are toothpastes made for this age group that is safe to swallow. Once a child is able to predictably spit, the topical use of fluoride (when not swallowed from toothpaste) plays an important role in fighting tooth decay. Using a very small amount of toothpaste is plenty. A smear is more than enough for young children; up to no more than the size of a pea as we get older.

The type of toothpaste is really not that important, brushing technique and time spent is key. Sensitivities and reactions can develop to toothpastes. If you are sensitive, avoid toothpastes that claim to do everything. Keep it simple. Whitening toothpastes, including charcoal toothpastes, work by removing extrinsic stain and may be more abrasive. The abrasive index of a toothpaste (RDA value) is not easily available from the toothpaste companies but some can be found. You may be surprised to learn that baking soda is very gentle with a low abrasive index.

To floss or not to floss?

Floss every day. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush. If you don't floss, you are missing more than one-third of your tooth surface. Some of us can find flossing frustrating and difficult. There are many other tools that can help clean in between teeth and may be helpful such as floss picks, floss threaders, proxabrushes, and softpiks. Cleaning between teeth is time consuming, but should not be neglected. After flossing put floss in the garbage, do not flush floss down the toilet.

What about mouthwash?

The most important factor in oral hygiene is the physical removal of plaque through brushing and flossing. Mouthwashes or rinses, although sometimes helpful, are not a replacement to proper cleaning of teeth. Mouth rinses that help reduce or control plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Those containing cetylpyridinium chloride or zinc can reduce bad breath. Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine and essential oils can be used to help control plaque and gingivitis. Fluoride helps to prevent decay. Peroxide is present in several whitening mouth rinses. Caution should be taken with children younger than the age of 6. Young children should not use a mouthwash, unless directed by a dentist, because they may swallow large amounts inadvertently.

Navigating the oral hygiene isle at the drugstore can be a unnerving. Hope some of the above helped! Don't forget to ask for guidance from your dental team!


Why our patients choose us

Sarah E.

If you have anxiety about getting dental work done, or if you're highly sensitive and worried about pain, Dr. Martino will always make the process as comfortable as possible.

Monica B.

The office is stunning and a great location in central Richmond Hill. Dr Martino (and her staff) are a joy to work with. Also, the cleaning was the best I've ever had.

Andrea & Lisa C

I have never been to another dentist that makes me feel comfortable when working on my teeth. She is very gentle and thorough from start to finish.

Alexandr E.

This dentistry is absolutely amazing. The office and all the equipment is very clean, brand-new, and fresh. It creates a feeling of being at a very modern dentistry. Also, the staff is super friendly and makes you feel like home.

Ray V.

Dr. Martino has been my dentist for 21 years, and over that time I've referred several friends and family members to her. She is pleasant and professional. Wishing her all the best at her new practice.

Janis H.

Dr. Martino is an amazing dentist. She is kind, makes you feel comfortable and always does a great job! It is a pleasure coming to see her and her staff always smiling!

Paul D.

My family and I have been seeing Dr Martino for many years and we have had amazing care & service. This new location is great and the staff are so friendly.

Fernando C.

I have no hesitation recommending Dr. Martino to anyone. She is very professional, caring and gentle dentist. She takes time to explain and suggest what is best to be done.

Alvina I.

A warm welcome as soon as you walk in. Convenient parking in busy Richmond Hill. Dr Martino is the best dentist in Ontario! Staff are attentive and highly capable.

Ioana N.

Always a positive experience visiting Dr. Martino. She always lets you know what you need and we absolutely trust her professionalism. With the kids, she has a gentle, friendly approach. Our favourite dentist for over 20 years!

Let's get in touch!

Have a question or want to learn more? Drop us a line, we'd be happy to help.

We are gladly accepting new patients from Richmond Hill and surrounding areas, and we are looking forward to being the first choice for you and your family's dental care!

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Crafting Smiles Dentistry

10376 Yonge St. - Unit 109, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3B8

You can find us on Yonge Street in the heart of the Village of Richmond Hill.
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