If you're getting cavities despite brushing and flossing, there is a prescription some dentists say you might want you to try.
That prescription isn't a pill or a potion; it's a paste. Prescription toothpaste just might be the ticket to cavity-free dental checkups.
The tubes come in all shapes and sizes. Some toothpastes promise to whiten; others to freshen your breath. But nearly all offer the protection of fluoride.
Mike Holmes says he's always had a tough time with his teeth. That's why he wants to make sure his daughter Raini picks the right toothpaste to keep her teeth healthy and strong.
"I don't know how I really started. I don't remember but all I know is I had some really soft teeth. It didn't matter how I took care of them. They were just so soft; they didn't do anything. But she's got a good set so I just make sure she does it. It's listed on one of her daily chores," Mike said.
"Because it lets me know that my teeth are healthy and I don't have to worry about my teeth hurting," Raini said.
That hurting is something many people are afraid of when they're kids and sometimes even after they become adults. And if your annual visit to the dentist's chair tends to end with a lot of drilling, you might want to think about giving prescription toothpaste a try.
"Anybody who has a lot of cavities for starters or have had a lot of cavities when you have your check up. You know, every time you are getting one or two or three, they would be a good candidate," Dentist Brienne Lineweber said.
Lineweber says prescription toothpaste can help teeth fight cavities and decay. It can also help to stop the weakening of the enamel that can lead to the cavities in the first place. The basic difference between your usual tube of toothpaste and the prescription variety is the amount of fluoride.
"Well, prescription toothpaste differs from regular toothpaste basically in the levels of fluoride. So for example, a lot of the over the counter has 1,000 parts per millionth and prescription has about 5,000 parts per million of fluoride. So it does have very much higher fluoride content than the over the counter," Lineweber said.
While prescription toothpaste may not be for everyone, it can help with everything from cavities to dry mouth to even sensitivity.
"Generally patients that are on it, they see that their check ups are better so they want to maintain that. So I see it as maintain it as long as you can. If you are put on it, you are put on it for a reason. As long as it's doing a good job and it's benefiting you, I would say just go ahead and stay on it," Lineweber said.
Prescription toothpaste can cost a bit more at about $20 a tube. And while that might seem like a lot, consider that if it prevents you from getting cavities, it could end up saving you a lot more money in the long run.