In our world of consumer choices, patients are presented with a number of products promising optimal dental health. The options can be overwhelming, with some making lofty promises. In this article, we will take a look at some common dental products and their superior alternatives. Enjoy!

1. Sugared Gum: Any gum containing sucrose, glucose or fructose is bad news for your oral health. Even if they advertise that they clean teeth or stimulate saliva, the fact of the matter is that these products bathe your teeth in sugar. This sends the bacteria in your mouth into a feeding frenzy, which in-turn causes demineralization and decay. Instead, look for gum made with sorbitol (good) or xylitol (best). Oral bacteria can't process these ingredients, and xylitol even inhibits their activity. 

2. Mall Whitening Kiosks: Underneath the advertising and marketing, these whitening booths are essentially selling OTC bleaching products with a significant markup. While they say they use professional grade bleaching material, its the same peroxide gels used in Whitestrips and other products. Instead, try either in-office bleaching procedures (quicker) or OTC products (more cost effective). 

3. Store-Bought Nightguards: Boil-and-bite nightguards will protect your teeth from nighttime grinding damage. However, they can cause headaches and jaw pains in the process. A nightguard made at a dental office is equilibrated so that all your teeth contact it at the same time. This allows jaw pressure to be evenly distributed instead of causing focal pain. Instead, get fitted for a custom nightguard or target the source of your grinding (stress, emotional strain, etc.)

4. Fluoride Free Toothpaste: In today's health-conscious society, many patients seek out fluoride free "all natural" toothpastes. Unfortunately, there is no compound (natural or man made) that can match the remineralizing power of fluoride. It is safe, effective and used universally in toothpastes around the world. Instead, try to find a toothpaste (any toothpaste) that contains some amount of fluoride!

5. "Floss Action" Toothbrushes: Any product that doesn't get physically inserted between the teeth can't match the cleaning power of floss. Some companies suggest or advertise that their toothbrush design can mimic the action of floss. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While these brushes are plenty efficient of cleaning the rest of your teeth, floss is the only way to get those in-between spaces. Instead, try to add flossing to your daily routine!