Even though grocery stores are one of the few places you can go amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel uncomfortable or unsafe venturing out for a tube of toothpaste or another pack of dental floss. While there is the option (for some) to use grocery pick-up or delivery, you may be thinking of ways to save money during this time. So what can you do? If you’re accustomed to covering your toothbrush in toothpaste or using far too much floss, a dentist in Hampton can explain exactly how much you should be using to not only get the most out of your oral hygiene products but continue to keep your smile healthy as well.

Toothpaste: A Little Goes a Long Way

Growing up, you probably watched toothpaste commercials that showed an individual squeezing an excessive amount out of the tube and preparing to clean their teeth. Although this poorly-executed marketing strategy attempts to show how “pretty” and beneficial toothpaste can be, it causes people to believe that you need more to effectively clean your teeth. This is not true at all.

In actuality, a little toothpaste goes a long way. For children who cannot independently brush their teeth or spit after brushing, only a smear (the size of a grain of rice) should be used. This is to prevent them from ingesting too much fluoride at a young age.

Adults, on the other hand, should use a pea-size amount of toothpaste. While it may not seem like a lot, once you begin to move it around and your saliva mixes with the paste, it begins to foam up in your mouth, effectively cleaning all surfaces.

Dental Floss: The Right Amount for an Effective Clean

All you need to effectively clean between your teeth without bringing harmful bacteria back into your mouth is 18-24” of dental floss. With this length, you can correctly hold it while moving it back and forth between each tooth, removing anything trapped that can cause tooth decay or gum disease.

You will likely need to help your child with this process, as flossing can be difficult until they gain the dexterity to perform this task alone. However, whether it is you or your child using dental floss, be sure not to push it down or pull it out, as this can hurt and damage your soft tissue.

Mouthwash: A 30-Second Rinse for a Cleaner Mouth

Once you are finished brushing and flossing your teeth, using an ADA-approved mouthwash is helpful to remove bad bacteria and food particles that are left behind. But how much is necessary? Making sure you pour 20 ml of mouthwash into a cup will allow you to thoroughly swish and rinse out your mouth. This should be done twice daily for 30 seconds each time. Once you’re done, you will not only have a cleaner mouth, but your breath will be minty fresh!

By following these tips, you will begin to notice how much longer you can go without needing to replenish your oral hygiene products. Especially during this time when COVID-19 is a concern for everyone, stay safe and home and use your toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash as instructed.

About the Author
Dr. Harbpinder Shevchenko earned her Bachelor of Dental Surgery in India in 2003 before going on to achieve her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine in 2009. Providing her patients with high-quality dental care, she is also available to offer valuable tips during this time on how to avoid unnecessary trips to the store by preventing waste when it comes to your oral hygiene products. Realizing people often use too much toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash, she can help you keep your smile healthy while remaining safely at home. If you have questions or concerns about your oral health and are looking for a “dentist near me,” contact us at (603) 319-4415.