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My Favorite Dental Products

  The bottom line on oral care products is that most of them are adequate or better. Some are ineffective and they tend to disappear from the marketplace when they don’t sell very well.

  Most of the claims that you see on dental products are a result of creative marketing or biased research. The best medicine for your mouth is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables coupled with scrupulous cleaning several times per day. Your body will fight germs effectively if just given the chance.

  As far as products that are truly a problem, the bad products quickly disappear from the market. Companies risk too much chancing a lawsuit. Ergo, most of the active ingredients in over-the-counter products are present in small amounts and can improve your oral health a bit, but not dramatically.

  Here’s what this dentist prefers. If your favorite product is not mentioned, don’t be offended. There are thousands of brands out there.



Sensodyne ProNamel. I like it for its desensitizing properties, lack of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)(which can cause canker sores); mild taste; a minimal number of additives and modifiers.

Runners up : any toothpaste with the ADA Seal of approval.

Losers: the more advertising hype (ie, whiter, brighter, fresher, ,optic, anti-tartar, anti-plaque, anti-anti, the less I advise using it)


Glide : It’s Teflon as opposed to nylon – it doesn’t break, doesn’t cut, and gets between tight teeth.

Losers: Cheap unwaxed floss, It’s worth paying the extra few dollars for the quality.

Alternative to floss:

GUM Soft picks. These are one of the greatest dental inventions of the last ten years – especially if you have larger spaces between the teeth.  BUT  I’m not so excited about: Plak-Smackers – they are better than nothing, but usually misused and usually only used on the front teeth.

Manual Toothbrush:

Oral B – plain forget all of the goofy gee-gaws and marketing colors. Size 35 or smaller (most women should look at the size 30). Colgate makes a good brush as does Reach. If you meticulously clean your teeth and massage your gums for two minutes (that’s a very long time!), any toothbrush is adequate.

Losers: Any toothbrush from “The Dollar Store”. There truly is a difference between manual toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrush:

It’s tossup between the Phillips Sonicare and the Oral-B/Braun. You should look for a rechargeable one with a timer. Expect to pay between 40 and 60 dollars.

Losers: I do not recommend a battery powered brush (ie. spin brush) – Also, factor in the replacement costs of the heads – they are a rip off.

Update: Deduct points from Oral-B for changing their design way too often and creating incompatible heads. It’s really annoying to get back home and realize that the $30.00 4-pack of brushes that you just bought does not fit your model.


No real preference   I occasionally use a prescription mouthwash known generically as chlorhexidine. Brand names are Perioguard and Peridex. This is not for long term use, but is great for minor infections and sore throats. In most countries besides the US, this is an OTC product. You can get this from your dentist.

For daily use I would recommend an alcohol free mouth wash: Every company makes one. The old standby, Listerine is loaded with alcohol, BUT, it works as advertised.

Dry mouth products:

Biotene toothpaste, Gel and mouthwash.Oasys mouthwash is a close second. Xylimelts by Oracoat (available online, Rite-aid or Whole Foods) are a great product to keep the saliva flowing. Also check out the Spry line of products.

Chewing gum:

4 out of 5 dentists recommend sugarless gum. I’m the fifth dentist – I don’t recommend chewing gum! It puts too much stress on your teeth and jaw muscles.

Fluoride Rinse:

They are all about the same. They certainly don’t hurt and likely will help decrease cavities in kids and adults.. Make sure that your child can spit the excess out and does not swallow it. If you are an older adult with dry mouth, use of a fluoride rinse may be an essential part of your regimen as you are particularly prone to tooth decay.

Cure for sores and sore mouths:

Peroxyl rinse. It’s basically a flavored peroxide. Gentle and effective. This is great for soothing mouth sores of any type.

Disclaimer: The information contained on Dr. Liftig’s website is meant to provide general information about dentistry. The information contained within this website is not intended to provide medical or dental advice, and should not be used as a substitute for medical and dental advice.  Consult your dentist or physician for your specific condition.  Dr. Liftig accepts no liability for the information provided pertaining to treatment.

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