8 things we learned about oral health in 2022

tThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyles in irreversible ways, but 2022 has seen the return of a version of the “new normal” for many, including the return for regular in-person doctor visits: Enter your long-lost biennial dental check-ups and cleanings.

Overall, 2022 is an important year for everyone’s oral health. Experts are starting to talk more about the relationship between mental health and oral health (an emerging area of ​​research) and we’ve seen a lot of innovation around dental products and tools. . From tooth polishers to toothbrushing robots, this year there are many innovations to help you clean your teeth better.

Here’s what Well+Good has learned about oral health in 2022.

1. Minty doesn’t always mean clean

According to Rob Raimondi, DDS, orthodontist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, mint is a popular flavor in toothpaste and has been around for hundreds of years, although it’s often a masking agent for real things. cleaning your teeth.

Dr. Raimondi advises that full brushing as recommended by the American Dental Association for two minutes, no bleeding when brushing, use of fluoride while brushing and tongue scraping are all better safeguards for your health. clean teeth.

2. Alcoholic mouthwash may increase the risk of tooth decay

This year, we also found out which mouthwash is best for shiny, healthy teeth. Alcohol-based mouthwash may give you a minty fresh feeling, but it can actually encourage harmful bacteria to grow in your mouth. Why? Alcohol-based mouthwash will wipe out all the bacteria in your mouth and leave you feeling pretty dry. This environment is great for bad bacteria to grow back faster than the good stuff, ultimately increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Instead, experts often recommend alcohol-free mouthwash. Your toothpaste can also do more harm than good to your enamel if it’s too abrasive—usually marketed as stain removers.

3. Water flossing has an important place in your oral hygiene

Just like flossing digs deep into your gums to clear away old food debris, we’ve delved into the truth about water flossing versus regular flossing. We’ve found that water flossing has been around for a while and is effective in removing some plaque—usually newly formed plaques—from your teeth. If you have more stubborn plaque, it’s better to floss regularly. However, the resounding conclusion is that it’s better not to floss at all.

4. Cheese is really good for your teeth

Good news for rat and cheese lovers everywhere, we took a look at whether cheese can benefit your oral health. Turns out it’s actually pretty good for your pearly white skin. Not only is it super high in calcium, according to dentist Joel Berg, DDS, dental director at Willo, but it “can help maintain the pH balance in our mouths, which is so important for our health.” maintenance of oral health”. “When the pH in our mouth is out of balance, especially when it becomes too acidic, cavities form, the process of tooth decay takes place excessively.”

5. Polishing your teeth is probably healthy

TikTok is flooded with ads for “tooth polish,” which is what the name implies: nail polish for your teeth. That certainly raises some questions about safety and legitimacy, but it turns out it can be used temporarily (think a few hours) and even as a creative way to express yourself.

6. There is a connection between your oral health and your mental health

While your oral health may seem completely unrelated to your mental health, the reality is quite a lot of overlap. For example, being depressed can make it difficult to keep your oral hygiene, leading to anxiety about going to the dentist. On the other hand, you may also worry more about dental problems or costs, or even self-esteem issues related to your smile. The bottom line is that your oral health and mental health are closely linked, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you find yourself struggling with one or the other. .

7. If you have trouble brushing your teeth regularly, you are not alone

Difficulty brushing teeth is a fairly common problem and can be especially difficult for people with mental health issues, executive dysfunction, like ADHD, and even sensory processing problems. . The first step to getting back on track is to give yourself a little grace, then follow some simple strategies to get back on track. We talked to a therapist and dentist about how to do it correctly if you want to kick the habit of not brushing your teeth.

8. We Tried A Toothbrushing Robot To See If It Works—And It Works

In the end, we tested a literal tooth-brushing robot at home and the results were…interesting. Willo, the first toothbrushing robot designed primarily for kids (but adults can use it too), works by suction and repulsion. You insert a mouthpiece with bristles that wrap around your teeth, and the machine sucks that bit into your top or bottom teeth. It then sprays a mixture of water and toothpaste solution, pushing and pulling the mixture around your teeth to clean your mouth. We spoke to an expert who said this can help clean your teeth, but you may want to supplement with regular brushing.


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