Your local pharmacy or drug store offers shelves of health and beauty products. Most drug stores have an entire aisle devoted to “oral care.” While we support the majority of these products (especially when it comes to toothpastes and toothbrushes), there are some dental products that we wish weren’t sold over the counter. Here are a few of those dental products that may be questionable, ineffective, not necessary or even do more harm than good.
Nighttime Bite Guards
This oral appliance is intended to control bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) while you sleep. However, the mouthguard must precisely fit over your unique bite in order to work correctly. A drug store bite guard uses “boil-and-bite” methods that don’t always provide a custom fit. More importantly, it is typically made of a flexible rubbery material that can actually encourage clenching and chewing, which means you can overstrain your TMJ and end up with more harm than good.
Dental Picks and Scraping Tools
Drug stores often offer a variety of dental picks or tools that can be used to dislodge stubborn food particles or scrape away unwanted debris from your teeth. You should know that routine brushing and flossing is all you need to clean between your teeth and control plaque and tartar. There is no need to tackle the job with a sharp pick that can easily puncture or irritate your gums and other soft tissues. Tools for scraping should only be used by a dentist, where they can be safely handled and sterilized to prevent infection.
DIY Teeth Whitening
This is one of the most common dental products that patients buy at a drug store. Over-the-counter whitening can include kits, strips, pastes and other types of products. While many of these items may bring slight improvement to the shade of your smile, there are problems that come with trusting your drug store over your dentist. Without a dentist’s foresight and evaluation of your smile health, some of these whitening products may be too harsh for your teeth and gums. Furthermore, they often require repeated use, which leads to accumulated expenses that you could have avoided with a one-time whitening treatment at your dental office.
Are you interested in buying a certain dental product at the drug store? Run it by your dentist first. Dr. Gilreath has a keen understanding on which products are good for your oral health, and the ones that are a waste of money or even a detriment to your smile.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,