Finding the right dental health product for your needs can be difficult. When it comes to taking care of your teeth, there are a ton of products out there that clean, whiten, and get rid of bad breath. But unlike applying a soothing sheet mask, finding and dealing with all toothbrushes, toothpaste, whitening treatments, floss, mouthwashes, etc. can sometimes be painful (and sometimes even painful if you have sensitive teeth).
This year, as part of our SELF Healthy Beauty Awards, we added the oral care category for the first time. Our testers sampled all kinds of new dental care products, including mouthwashes, electric toothbrushes, manual toothbrushes, whitening toothpastes for stained teeth, toothpaste tablets, dental floss, water flossers, home whitening kits, etc. through American Dental Association–licensed professional dentists (ADA).
That’s because we understand that finding the best dental health product can make you feel great about your smile, while being easy enough to use on a regular basis (and enjoyable to use, too).
What to look for when buying oral care products
The TL; DR of dentists regarding oral hygiene is that everyone should brush twice a day and floss at least once, but we guess you already knew that. All the other products (mouthwashes for fresher breath, home whitening kits, etc.) are extra and mostly cosmetic.
Electric toothbrushes are far more efficient than manual toothbrushes and often easier to use because they do the cleaning for you, and traditional flossers remove bacteria and food deeper than bristles. water dental. That said, it’s always better to use a soft-bristled manual toothbrush and a water flosser than skipping both. (Psst: Here is our buying guide for electric toothbrushes.)
If you have sensitive teeth and gums, keep an eye out for toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen teeth and fight cavities, as well as potassium nitrate, an additive you might found in whitening products, which can balance sensitivity. If you have dry mouth, avoid alcohol and peroxide. But if you’re dealing with discoloration, peroxide and hydrogen peroxide mouthwashes are a plus, as are whitening toothpastes that contain abrasives like silica, which polish teeth and dissolve stains. You can see the rest of our dentist-informed criteria here.
Keep reading to see our top picks for the best new dental care products that are essentially guaranteed to keep your smile bright, shiny, and healthy. And head here to check out all the best new beauty products for 2021.
Reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.