Want to give the gift of a better, brighter, healthier smile? There are endless products to choose from. Here are some ideas, organized by recipient type.
FOR YOUR BRACES BUDDY: Orthodontic flossers
While braces are great for straightening teeth, they make flossing quite the challenge! It’s hard to get all the nooks and crannies with limited access and hardware in the way. Orthodontic flossers have hit the market and the spatula-like shape allows you to maneuver around wires and brackets with ease. Platypus is a great brand to try.
FOR IMPATIENT LITTLES: Teeth brushing timer
Kids rarely brush their teeth for the recommended 2 minutes. And even if they wanted to, their sense of time isn’t as accurate as they think it is. There are some great timers with lights that flash on and off, letting your little one know when the time is up.
FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FRIENDS: A biodegradable toothbrush
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that you get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months, which means you will be throwing out four toothbrushes a year. Toothbrushes made with bamboo handles and nylon bristles get the job done while minimizing the amount of plastic used.
FOR METICULOUS MAMAS: Finger toothbrushes
Before your little one is able to hold a toothbrush, you can clean their mouth and what few teeth they have with a silicone finger toothbrush. You can slip it right over your index finger and it will allow you to gently and thoroughly clean their mouth.
FOR CLEAN FREAKS: Toothbrush sanitizer
Most of us plop our toothbrush in our mouth everyday without a second thought about its cleanliness, or its lack of cleanliness rather. According to Men’s Health, the average toothbrush contains more than 10 million bacteria — including fecal germs. What? Yikes! Yuck! Sanitizers use ultraviolet light to kill germs on your toothbrush, and with most of them priced at less than $50, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
FOR WHITE TEETH WANNABES: Whitening treatments or products
Have you heard a friend or loved one talk about how they would like a whiter smile? Give them the gift of added confidence with teeth whitening. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that more than 82 percent of people who undergo an in-office teeth whitening procedure notice a difference. And 63 percent of those who did an at-home whitening treatment also noticed a positive difference. If your budget has room to spare, opt for a series of treatments performed by a trained professional in a dental office setting. If your need something relatively inexpensive, gels or white stripes are the way to go. Your local drug store will have several options to choose from.
FOR YOUR SWEET TOOTH SWEETIE: Sugar-free mints, candy and gum
Is your wife the one who is always popping Lifesavers at church? Or does your son chomp through an entire pack of gum in an afternoon? Protect your loved one’s teeth with sugar free alternatives. Xylitol products are great because they are made with natural sweeteners that won’t contribute to tooth decay.
FOR PRETTY MUCH ANYONE: An electric toothbrush
The benefits of an electric toothbrush are extensive. According to Registered Dental Hygienist magazine, electric toothbrushes remove 10 to 49 percent more plaque than regular toothbrushes. They are also great for those who have a tendency to brush their teeth to hard. Because you are relying on the rotating bristles to do the work, you won’t be pressing on your gums too hard. Plus, they have timers that help you brush your teeth for the correct amount of time. Whether snag the ubiquitous Sonicare or a an Oral B model, cleaner teeth are yours for the taking.
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