Most of us are used to the idea of just popping into the local grocery store or pharmacy to replenish our usual brand of toothpaste, mouthwash and floss when we know we’re running low on supplies. But what if re-stocking that old familiar brand isn’t really helping you as much as when you were younger? As we grow older and our teeth and gums age along with us, sometimes those old familiar products are worth switching out – often with a prescription from your dentist. But how do you know when you should opt for something new? Let’s take a look.
- Do you Have Sensitive Teeth or Gum Disease? If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity due to a receding gum line, you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste. Such toothpastes have higher levels of fluoride and can help lessen sensitivity and protect exposed tooth structure no longer protected by enamel or gum tissue. Typically your dentist would recommend prescription toothpaste for you if you have significant recession, or if you have recently been in for scaling and root planing.
- Do You Get a Lot of Cavities, or Drink from An Unfluoridated Water Supply? If you get your drinking water from a well, or any other unfluoridated source, prescription toothpastes can be helpful. They’re also worth considering simply if you’re prone to decay. Excessive cavities can be a drain on your wallet, and the overall health of your mouth. Ask if there are ways (other than frequent visits to the office for repair) you can proactively fight your battle with cavity-prone teeth.
- Do You Suffer from Dry Mouth? Most over the counter (OTC) remedies for dry mouth are effective for the majority of people. However, if you’ve been using an OTC solution for some time, and are experiencing limited relief, you might want to ask your dentist if there are other options. You should also ask your family doctor help you get to the root of the problem – which could be indicative of any number of benign or more serious concerns.
- Are Frequent Mouth Sores a Problem? Elderly patients and those undergoing treatment for some diseases such as cancer, can develop mouth sores. Yet it’s not necessary to endure this pain for days and weeks on end, so ask your dentist or physician for a prescription mouth gel like Gelclair®. Such gels work by forming a barrier that protects the nerve endings and shields them from overstimulation that can result in pain.
- Do You Suffer From Persistent Halitosis? Many people don’t know this, but there are prescription mouthwashes that can be used to help combat persistent halitosis. As with dry mouth, however, it’s important to understand why you have bad breath. If you do not have gum disease and feel otherwise healthy, there could be more serious reasons for your halitosis.
For the overwhelming majority of us, over-the-counter toothpastes, mouth washes and other dental hygiene products will do the trick just fine. Just know that your options don’t stop there and speak with your dentist if you have any concerns.