Is there anything more important than oral hygiene? When it comes to how you look and feel, a clean, fresh and bright smile might be the most significant confidence booster. And it all boils down to the tools and tactics you use. If your routine (and mouth) has gotten a little stale lately, it might be time for an overhaul. Remember, you want to take care of those teeth the best you can. They’re the only parts of your body that cannot repair themselves. When it comes to oral care, a good offense is your best defense against unpleasantness, pain and a frighteningly large dental bill.
Of course, avoiding sugary drinks and not smoking is smart. Daily brushing and flossing is essential. But there are plenty of other things you can (and maybe should) do to revolutionize your mouth and smile. So, whether you want to stop your gums from bleeding, straighten your teeth or simply ensure that you have a bright smile and fresh breath, here is an expert-approved lineup of products and treatments.
A Smarter Toothbrush
This toothbrush looks space-aged, and that makes sense, considering it's packed with features. The slim-fit hybrid wave brush head is made with bacteria-resistant pulsating bristles that aim to effectively combat plaque, while still being gentle on your gums. Silicone ridges on the reverse offer targeted, sonic cleansing for your tongue. Made from medical-grade, non-porous silicone, it's more hygienic than a standard brush and the battery will get you nearly a year's worth of brushing on a single charge.
ISSA 3 sonic silicone brush set, $269 / $189 by Foreo
A Tougher Toothpaste
Enamel erosion is something that most of us don't really think about when it comes to our teeth, but if you’re experiencing more tooth sensitivity, it may be an early sign you should be concerned with. Healthy enamel means healthy teeth, so insure you invest in a toothpaste that not only cleans teeth but works to strengthen enamel. This dentist-recommended formula helps reverse the early signs of erosion and protects teeth while re-hardening the enamel surface.
Sensitivity gum and enamel toothpaste, $7 by Sensodyne
An Easier Way to Floss
Hate flossing? You're not alone. Over 37% of Americans say they don't regularly floss and another 32% say they never floss, according to U.S. News & World Report. The bad news is that you really need to be flossing. Every tooth has five surfaces and when we don't floss, we are immediately missing two of these surfaces. When done properly, flossing removes food particles that stick to teeth creating colonies of bacteria called plaque that promote inflammation and gum disease. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar, which wears away at gums and bone, eventually causing tooth loss.
A water flosser is like a power washer for your teeth and gums. According to Dr. William Linger, a Charlotte-based dentist, “these appliances use highly pressurized water to blast plaque out from between your teeth for a nearly hands-free flossing experience.” The cordless ability of this one allows you to minimize mess by doing it in the shower. It's also great for smaller bathrooms without much counter space and holds a battery charge for quite a while.
Cordless water flosser, $99.99 by Waterpik
A Hard-Working Rinse
Mouthwash is mouthwash, right? Nope. If you simply want a minty rinse, then any old brand will do, but if you want the most bang for your buck, try a multi-action mouthwash like This relatively new formula from the long-standing oral health brand Listerine. After testing out several, we can confirm that this rinse is like a toolbox in a bottle. It's especially good at strengthening teeth—the fluoride-rich formula not only prevents cavities, but restores minerals to enamel while killing the germs that cause bad-breath and gum irritation.
Total Care anticavity mouthwash, $8.99 by Listerine
Who wouldn’t want a leading man’s perfectly straight set of teeth? You might not make a living with your smile but you will be surprised to know that straight teeth aren't just for aesthetic purposes. Once teeth have been aligned, the gaps in between become smaller—fewer gaps mean fewer areas in the mouth for food to get caught and cause decay. Decay is what causes cavities, bad breath and unhealthy gums. Braces can be tricky as an adult, but we now live in the golden age of invisible and removable aligners. There are a handful out there, but our favorite is Byte.
The company prides itself on providing an easygoing customer experience that includes personalized support and some of the fastest treatment times. They also work with an industry-leading cosmetic dentist to ensure your new smile is proportional to your facial structure. Plus, the company guarantees straight teeth for life and will provide free aligners if your teeth happen to shift after treatment. Don’t want to wear them during the day? Byte offers an “at-night” plan for a discreet treatment that requires only 10 hours of continuous wear per day.
Aligner treatment plan, from $1,999 by Byte
If you want a really minty balm that tastes great and also keeps dryness at bay, this is it. The all-natural shea butter boosts hydration while beeswax adds a layer of protection against wind and dry weather. Plus, the formula has broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 18 that's sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, whether you’re on the trail or at the beach.
Shine-free lip balm, $12 (for a set of three) by Oars + Alps