May is National Dental Care Month, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about all the products available to help take care of our pearly whites! Did you know that taking care of your mouth is important not only for keeping your gums and teeth healthy, but it’s also important for your overall health?

Common diseases that can affect your oral health include cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. More than 80% of people will have at least one cavity by age 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). 

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are associated with poor oral health. Consuming sugary foods and beverages can also contribute to cavities and gum disease. Using tobacco products can increase your risk for oral cancers, too. 

Spending on Dental Care

Have you ever been overwhelmed by all the options in the dental care aisle at the store? There are so many choices and it can be hard to know what the right kind to buy is- whitening, desensitizing, tartar-control, gum health, flavored or countless other options. 

Consumers in the United States spend around $1.8 billion per year on toothpaste, according to EMI Health. And, for most people, the main things you need to consider are safety—the product is accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA)— and taste. After all, if you don’t like the taste of your toothpaste, you’re less likely to use it! 

According to the ADA, United States residents spent around $162 billion on dental care in 2021, an increase of 11% over 2020. Private health insurance accounted for the majority of this expense, followed by out-of-pocket spending. 

Tips for Taking Care of Your Mouth

Cavities are one of the most common diseases in childhood in the United States, but the good news is that they are preventable. It’s important for kids to see a dentist regularly to check their teeth. Dentists can apply dental sealants on the back teeth to help prevent cavities. Fluoride varnishes also help prevent cavities in baby teeth, along with daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste.

The CDC offers a number of tips to help maintain a healthy mouth and strong teeth. Some of their suggestions include:

  • Brushing teeth twice daily
  • Flossing daily between the teeth
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride
  • Drink fluoridated water

The CDC also recommends limiting alcoholic drinks and avoiding tobacco products. You should also see your doctor or dentist if you have sudden changes in taste or smell. 

Don’t Forget to Scan

Remember to scan and report your dental care purchases, whether you buy them at a retail store, the grocery store or online. Oral health items might include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes, manual and electronic
  • Dental floss
  • Floss picks
  • Mouthwash
  • Tongue scrapers
  • Oral irrigators or water flossers

Do you buy travel-size versions of dental products for when you travel? We recently asked this question on our Facebook page- check out the post to see what other panel members said. Don’t forget to report those purchases, also! 

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