Bottom Line: Cleaner healthier teeth

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:55 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - While regular dentist visits are important, there’s a lot you can do at home to make the clean and check a lot less annoying, but with so many options for brushes, flosses, and toothpaste - what to choose can get confusing.

Consumer Reports reveals what matters in unlocking the secrets to cleaner, healthier teeth.

You’ve heard the advice for years: brush your teeth twice a day and floss. When it comes to how to most effectively do that - it gets a bit more complicated.

Manual or electric toothbrush? Soft or hard bristles? String or water flosser? And let’s not even get started on the unending options for toothpaste. What to choose?

“A lot of the time the right choice depends on what you like and what you’ll use - but some products and strategies do have clear advantages over others,” said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports.

In the battle of manual versus electric toothbrushes, research suggests that electric toothbrushes have a slight edge when it comes to cleaning away plaque.

They can also be a great option if you have braces or for people with dexterity limitations. Still, it’s possible to do a great job cleaning your teeth even with a manual brush.

“No matter which kind of toothbrush you choose, opt for one with soft bristles since hard bristles are more likely to damage your gums and enamel,” said Roberts.

In CR’s tests, the Oral-B iO 7 series got top scores for cleaning and battery performance.

For the toothpaste– be sure to look for one that contains fluoride. If you want whitening toothpaste, the ADA Seal of Acceptance is a good sign that it won’t damage your enamel.

For people who hate flossing with string, will a water flosser get the job done?

“Water flossers like those made by Waterpik are good at removing food and other debris from your teeth, though they can’t quite match up with string floss when it comes to scraping bacteria from your teeth,” said Roberts.

Still, using a water flosser is much better than not flossing at all, so choose either with string or water and floss once a day.

Remember to brush for at least two minutes–it might surprise you, but the American Dental Association says most people brush for less than half of that time.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

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