Every day I get emails from readers asking for my thoughts on which toothpaste to buy, which electric toothbrush is best, alternatives for those who hate flossing, good snacks for kids’ developing teeth, which books on nutrition and health that I read, and so on, so I figured keeping a resources page updated with my recommendations would be helpful.
Everything on this page is stuff I have tested on myself and use personally. Nothing makes it on this page that I can’t recommend and get behind 100%.
If you’re wondering who’s that in the photo with me, that’s Remy, Chief of Dental Anxiety at my practice. I recommend that everyone have a doggie dental anxiety expert with them at their dental appointments, but he’s very happy with his employment here at my office.
Getting Great Care
- How to Find a Great Dentist: In my step by step guide, I go through everything you should do when looking for a new dentist.
- If You Don’t Have Dental Insurance: Coming soon. Please let me know if you have suggestions for this section of the website, as I’m in the process of writing it right now.
- Oral B: If I were forced to buy one toothbrush, it would be the Oral B 1000. It’s inexpensive, is a lot of bang for your buck, and high quality. It only has one on/off switch – no fancy settings like “pulsation” – but that keeps the price down and makes it less frustrating to switch off when you’re finished brushing. Those settings can be nice, but they aren’t necessary for health.
- Best replacement heads: Oral B makes an extra-soft electric toothbrush replacement head that’s softer than the normal ones and easier on teeth.
- Reach Flossing Stick: If you’re trying to make flossing a habit, the Reach Flosser is great because it’s a one-handed operation, making it possible for you to floss while you’re on your phone if you want. If you’re uncoordinated, have a disability, or hate how much it hurts to wrap floss around your fingers, try one out. All you have to do is put it in your mouth, bite down on it gently, and work it through all your gum spaces.
- Vitamin Research Products: This is where I get all my vitamins and supplements. I think the world of these guys. Their vitamins are pure gelatin capsules, with no meat or petroleum products, no binders, and no magnesium stearates. Just clean, simple, high quality stuff – no junk. Since I’ve been ordering from them for 25 years, they give my readers a 10% discount on the first order and 20% off on subsequent orders if put on auto-ship. Just mention my name – Mark Burhenne DDS – when ordering. Email me if you’re wondering which vitamins to order for your specific needs – I’ll be writing more about this for AsktheDentist.com soon.
- Vitamin D: It’s a potent flu-fighter and promotes gum and tooth health.
- Co-enzyme Q10: It’s critical for gum and heart health.
- Rembrandt: Rembrandt Gentle White contains citroxin, a patented stain-remover that works.
All Natural Toothpastes
- JASÖN: I recommend the JASÖN brand because they are the best-tasting fluoride-free and SLS-free toothpaste I have ever tested. The tea trea oil & cinnamon flavor is most popular amongst my patients (as well as my wife and daughters) and it’s a great for brushing your teeth at night because it doesn’t contain mint, a neural stimulant that can throw off your bedtime routine.
- MI Paste: I use MI Paste every night. This is the best fluoride treatment out there and it actually has the proper, therapeutic amount of fluoride that strengthens and protects teeth.
Brushing on the Go
- Dr. Tung’s Snap-on Toothbrush Sanitizer: The Dr. Tung’s Snap-on Sanitizer snaps on the head of your toothbrush so you can throw it in your purse, backpack, etc. It works by releasing anti-bacterial vapors to keep your toothbrush smelling nice, which is especially great for brushing without a toothbrush.
Cleaning Retainers, Dentures, and Other Oral Appliances
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap: I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to clean my retainers, but it also makes a great soap and shampoo. Use a few squirts of Dr. Bronner’s soap in a cup of water and soak your retainers in the solution. For a more thorough clean, brush them with a toothbrush. I don’t recommend using cleaners like Efferdent or Polident because they contain chemicals that can be absorbed by porous dentures or retainers and cause problems in the mouth.
Most of the snack foods marketed for kids are promoting tooth decay. Goldfish and saltine crackers are the #1 snack for kids and also the #1 cavity causers in kids – ahead of candy.
- Mary’s Gone Crackers: Mary’s Gone Crackers get my pick for both health and taste. They’re perfect with a little goat or sheep cheese. Every time my wife and I serve these crackers, friends ask what kind of crackers they are – they’re that good. Your kids will love them too – throw them in a plastic baggie with some cheese squares.
- Chopped Apples with Almond Butter: Chopped apples with a dollop of almond butter in a tupperware container makes another great alternative. Apples clean teeth and the healthy fats in almond butter fill kids up.
- Cheese Squares: Cheese combats tooth decay, making it a great alternative for dessert for adults too. The Europeans are doing it right by having a cheese platter after a meal – that cheese works to reduce the acid erosion from the main meal. Goat’s and sheep’s cheese tend to be easier on kids’ digestive systems.
- TCHO Dark Chocolate Squares: TCHO happens to be the brand that makes the chocolate squares I give my patients when they come in for an appointment, but any dark chocolate that’s low in sugar and 70% and above in cocoa solids will do. Chocolate contains powerful compounds that strengthen tooth enamel – which is why you’ll see this dentist indulging in chocolate every day. Just make sure to start your kids off right on the good stuff and not sugary milk chocolate, which does promote decay.
- Snap-on Toothbrush Sanitizer: The Kids’ Snap-On Toothbrush Sanitizer is smaller than the adult version and good for toddler-size toothbrushes. No matter how old you are, a toddler-size toothbrush is great for throwing in a backpack or soccer bag for brushing after meals outside of home. Kids actually have a better sense of smell than adults and can be grossed out by the smell fo their own toothbrush. Don’t give ’em any excuses not to brush! Smaller toothbrushes have smaller heads, which often help kids brushing their teeth cause less damage to tooth enamel.
You won’t ever see me recommend a mouthwash because I don’t believe in it. Use a tongue scraper instead to scrape off bacteria that’s causing bad breath – mouthwash doesn’t work. I like Dr. Tung’s stainless steel version because stainless steel is easier and safer and easier to clean than plastic and also more resistant to bacteria.
If you’re already aware of this, but still want to swish with something after you brush and floss, make sure your mouthwash is SLS-free, fluoride free, and alcohol free. I don’t use mouthwash myself, so I can’t recommend one in particular, but as long as you choose one that’s free of those three things, I give it my stamp of approval.
- Dark Chocolate: 70% cocoa or more dark chocolate – Tcho makes tiny dark chocolate squares that I give to patients for a healthy snack that protects their teeth.
- Coming soon
- Sleep Apnea – Do you have loud snoring? Do you sometimes gasp for air or stop breathing in sleep? You may have the most common but widely untreated sleep disorder: sleep apnea.
- Myofunctional Therapy – Sarah Hornsby’s blog is a great resource for myofunctional therapy, tongue exercises, and proper development for children to prevent sleep-disordered breathing.
- Dr. Steven Park, MD – Dr. Park is an ENT who focuses on sleep medicine and sleep-disordered breathing and his website is a fantastic resource, as well as his podcast.
Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS