teeth

How charcoal escaped the grill and ended up in your toothpaste and your face cream

Sometimes you don’t notice a new fad until you bump into it. That’s what happened to me, literally, when my shopping cart sideswiped a display of toothbrushes with black bristles. I took a closer look at the Oral-B toothbrush and discovered it was infused with charcoal. And there was some Crest black-and white-striped charcoal toothpaste to go with it.

The best toothbrush? Any, if you’re using it right.

If you have ever walked the long toothbrush aisle in a big-box store undecided, we have good news for you: “The best toothbrush is the one you’re using in your hand, if you’re using it right,” says dentist Mark Burhenne, creator and author of Ask the Dentist. We asked five experts for their picks. No matter what brush you choose, Burhenne says, what’s most important is to aim for the gum, to not overbrush and to try to clean for two minutes, depending on what kind of diet you eat; more sugar and processed foods equals more brushing.

How to get over your fear of the dentist

Almost half of American adults have at least moderate fears about going to the dentist, and 5 to 10 percent have told researchers that they avoid dental care as a result. The obvious consequences are increased cavities, bad breath and periodontal disease, but secondary consequences are broader: Decayed or missing teeth have a negative effect on self-esteem and employability.