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I am a Registered Dental Hygienist. I graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1973 and began practicing that summer for Dr. James Overman. Our office was located in the Barton Medical Building in St. Marys, Ohio. Dr. William Duncan also worked there for a year in about 1974.  I worked for Dr. Overman for about two years, until he sold the practice to Dr. Larry Heitkamp. We remained in the Barton building until 1986 when we moved into a new office around the corner in the Wheatland Medical Center, built by Dr. Quinter, a surgeon.  Dr. Heitkamp sold the practice to Dr. Travis Lutz in 2000 and we became Grand Lake Family Dentistry. In April 2010 we moved the St. Marys practice from the Wheatland Center to the Celina office, the office that Dr. Lutz had purchased from Dr. Ramsey. I have been working as a dental hygienist nearly 38 years as I write this in 2011.

The following are items that I recommend for your good dental health:

Note: I am not associated with any of the following companies. I just like their products.


A Soft Toothbrush—Brushing too hard with a stiff-bristled brush can lead to gum recession and tooth abrasion. Use a soft brush, preferably one that has end-rounded bristles (like the Oral-B) and brush in a circular motion at your gum line. Make sure you brush long enough, 3-4 minutes, and brush twice a day.
Electric/Battery Toothbrush—
These brushes do the work for you and some have a timer on them so you know that you have brushed long enough. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. Oral-B  and Sonicare make several very good rechargeable toothbrushes. If you are not sure you would like a battery toothbrush, try a non-rechargeable first, like the Oral-B Pulsar. It should last about a month, costs about $5, and will give you an idea of what a battery-powered toothbrush feels like. I use a Sonicare rechargeable brush.
I recommend using a toothpaste with fluoride in it. Crest and Colgate toothpastes both contain fluoride and are both good. Most toothpastes now contain whitening products which can make teeth hot and cold sensitive. If that happens, you may want to try a sensitive toothpaste such as Sensodyne or Crest Sensitive. ProNamel by Sensodyne may help tooth sensitivity and it also helps rebuild enamel affected by acid erosion.
Dental Floss—Most of my patients like to use waxed floss although I prefer to use the unwaxed types. The waxed floss goes in and out of teeth easier and Glide by Oral-B and the Colgate Total brand are both good. I feel that unwaxed floss grips and removes the plaque best and my personal preference is the Reach mint woven floss with fluoride by Johnson & Johnson. Many of my patients like to use floss picks that hold the floss between plastic prongs. Bottom line is, use whatever type of floss you prefer, but floss at least once a day.
Interdental Items—
If you have some space between your teeth, if your gums have receded between your teeth, or if you have braces, you may find that floss does not always remove everything from these areas. You may want to use some other products. Toothpicks are hard and should not be used on a regular basis. I like Soft-Picks by GUM, a soft, flexible pick. GUM also makes little brushes to clean between your teeth: Proxabrush and Go-Betweens. These are either cylindrical or conical in shape. I use both the Soft-Picks and Go-Betweens.
I really like this little brush with one set of tufted bristles on each end. It is great to use behind the lower front teeth and behind molars. However, they are very difficult to find. No stores seem to carry them any more but they are available on-line.
I highly recommend a Waterpik to clean in between your teeth. It is also highly beneficial if you have braces. If you have not used a Waterpik before, start on the low pressure and gradually increase the pressure over time. Direct the stream between your teeth. We have hard water where we live so I use distilled water in my Waterpik. That has worked to extend the life of the machine. You can also put a little mouthwash or peroxide in with the water.
Mouthwash will help control the bacteria in your mouth and using it every 12 hours is most beneficial. The Listerine mouthwashes are good, as is Crest Pro-Health. I like to use Listerine Cool Mint.
Mouthwash with Fluoride—
If you have a decay problem, rinse at night with a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent decay by strengthening enamel. Rinse right before you go to bed and do not eat or drink after you rinse. I recommend ACT Fluoride Rinse and ACT Restoring Mouthwash. They come in a variety of flavors.
I usually don’t advocate chewing gum, but Trident  Xtra Care gum can actually help prevent decay. It contains Xylitol, which can help keep a neutral pH balance in your mouth. Basically, decay is caused by sugars and acid. Pop contains a lot of sugar and is acidic and after drinking a pop the pH in your mouth will be acidic. Chewing Trident Xtra Care after drinking a pop can help neutralize your saliva.

Speaking of pop, it is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. It is sticky, sugary, and acidic and is the leading cause of decay around the gum line area, especially on front teeth. If you must drink pop, it is best to drink it with a meal. Sipping on a pop throughout the day is very detrimental to your teeth. It would be better to drink the pop all at once if it is not with a meal.

I wish you good dental health!

Karen Miller Bennett, RDH

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