You can name everything you need for good oral health right now without giving it much thought. After all, you’ve been brushing and flossing since you were a child.
While it’s easy to know what you need to care for your teeth daily, do you know what to do in case of a dental emergency? Most people have rarely dealt with this kind of a situation, but it is something everyone should think about. This is especially true of families with children.
First-Aid Kit for your Teeth
Most homes have a first-aid kit, but what about a first-aid kit for dental emergencies? What happens if your kid breaks a tooth playing ball or has one physically knocked out? At the moment, the only ADA-approved product for this type of dental emergency is Save-A-Tooth. This is a 1-ounce plastic container that you use to transport the lost tooth to the dentist, in case it can be restored.
Additionally, you should have the following things on hand for oral first-aid care:
- Cotton swabs and cotton balls
- Sterile gauze
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Topical pain medications like Orajel or Anbesol
- Dental mirror
- Dental wax
Dental wax is a great tool to have on hand because it can be pressed onto broken teeth or loose crowns. This buys you some time to get to the dentist. It can also be helpful for people with braces or other orthodontics.
It is always a good idea to have a few backup toothbrushes on hand. For starters, you should use a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, and having them on hand makes this easier to do. Also, if someone in the house has been sick, you should toss everyone’s old toothbrushes and replace them with a fresh one.
Manual vs powered toothbrushes
It is recommended that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes a day, twice a day. Every 30 seconds, you should move from one quadrant of your mouth to the next, allowing you to effectively cover all surfaces. You can do this with a manual or powered toothbrush, but is one better than the other?
Consumer Reports says that between the two versions, electric toothbrushes do a better job of removing plaque and reducing gum disease. The problem with electric toothbrushes is they can actually over brush your teeth. In time, this can wear down your tooth enamel and irritate gums. To be fair, the same problem can happen with a manual toothbrush if you brush aggressively or for long periods.
Sure, it’s an obvious recommendation, but we have to include it — toothpaste! According to the ADA, children and adults should brush their teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste. So you may want to have an extra tube on hand, but remember, toothpaste actually does have a shelf life of 2 years from the date of manufacture.
You always want to have extra mouthwash on hand because not only can you use it for your normal routine, you can use it between meals to limit tooth staining. Opt for a high-quality vegan, alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinse. Use it morning and night, and between meals to step up your oral hygiene. Look for a version that freshens breath, offers protection from tooth decay and whitens.
Dental Pics or Dental Floss
Flossing may not be your favorite thing to do, but it is important. It doesn’t really matter if you use waxed or unwaxed; that’s just a matter of personal choice. It is a good idea to keep something with you to floss on the go. Fortunately, floss and picks are small and easy to carry with you.
Toothbrush Storage Options
Once upon a time it was common practice to keep toothbrushes displayed on the bathroom counter in ceramic holders. The entire family’s brushes would be stored in the open, side by side. This is no longer considered a great idea, because germs can actually be released into the air with every flush of the toilet. Germs can also be transmitted from brush to brush.
Your best bet is to store toothbrushes in a cabinet, away from the toilet area. You do need to be careful, though, because you don’t want the head of the toothbrush to be covered. It needs to be able to dry completely between uses. A couple options include individual toothbrush storage devices, or putting them into a shelf or drawer. Remember to never share toothbrushes, and do not soak them in any type of disinfecting solution.