In all the chaos of the last year, it’s been easy to let some things slide. If you struggled to care for your smile while worrying about everything else, you’re not alone. Fortunately, it’s never too late to improve your oral health, and Brace-Asaurus Orthodontics for All Ages is here to help! Whether you’re in braces or aligners, making positive changes to your dental hygiene routine can have you looking and feeling better as we look to the future. A big part of that is being mindful with your daily oral habits, so keep reading below for our best tips on orthodontic care in 2021!
Take it back to the basics when it comes to oral care
While we should all be doing what we can to keep our teeth and gums healthy, it’s especially important in 2021 for orthodontic patients to maintain a solid orthodontic care routine of brushing and flossing. Those in braces are particularly susceptible to cavities during treatment, thanks to all the nooks and crannies the brackets and wires create. This is why we recommend brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, but ideally, you should brush after every meal and snack to help eliminate germs and plaque.
You may not realize it, but how you brush is just as important as how often you do it. If you wear braces, take your time and carefully clean around the wires and in the areas between the brackets and gums. Food debris and bacteria love to hide and multiply there! If you’re having trouble cleaning these spots effectively, interdental brushes and ortho-picks can make this an easier and more efficient process.
Don’t forget to floss every night before bed! Flossing removes food particles from in between your teeth and will also stimulate your gums, reduce plaque build-up, and lower inflammation in the gum area. Here are a few simple guidelines to follow for getting the most out of your dental hygiene routine.
- Brush every tooth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Be consistent when brushing across each tooth.
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle gently against the gum line.
- Brush from the base of the tooth up to the chewing surface.
- Use short, round strokes for the front and the back of teeth.
- Use short, sweeping strokes for the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue and roof of the mouth from back to front.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months, or after any illness.
- Floss every night before bed.
- Use tools like interdental brushes, water flossers, and ortho-picks if needed.
Less sugar, more water
Sticking to a healthy and nutritious diet during treatment is good for you in more ways than one! Cutting back on sugary drinks and snacks is a relatively easy way to improve your smile and your overall health, too. Because sugar is a carbohydrate, it’s converted into acid in your mouth. That acid is the culprit behind the development of cavities and tooth decay. Sugars can also erode the enamel of your teeth over time. While you don’t have to give it all up completely, it does pay to think about what you’re eating and drinking throughout the day.
Take soft drinks, for example, which can affect patients in braces and aligners both. Soda contains both sugar and acid, doubling the risk to your tooth enamel. This combination can even cause unsightly decalcification if plaque around the brackets isn’t removed regularly.
Invisalign patients aren’t exempt from this, either! If you don’t remove your aligner before drinking soda, small amounts of the liquid can seep into it. It’s then held against your teeth until the aligner is removed. If the liquid contains acid, as soft drinks do, the prolonged exposure can accelerate damage to the teeth. (This is one reason why we always advise removing your aligner if you’re drinking anything other than water!)
Unsurprisingly, water is the best beverage for your oral and total body health. We recommend drinking it with or after every meal to help wash out any lingering food particles and rinse your mouth. Upping your water intake will also give your smile a boost by encouraging saliva production, which keeps your mouth clean and functional.
Don’t skip appointments (and see your dentist regularly!)
There were a lot of temporary closings and rescheduled appointments in 2020, but we’re hoping things will be back on track this year. You can do your part by prioritizing the follow-up visits we schedule for you with Dr. Desai. These essential appointments are usually scheduled for every 4-8 weeks, and they give us the chance to ensure everything is progressing as it should be. We’ll work with you to fit these visits in when it’s most convenient for you and your family, and they tend to be fairly brief so you can get back to your day as soon as possible.
While your everyday habits are essential for a healthy mouth, regular dental visits are, too. You should see a dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups, especially during your orthodontic journey. This will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape, and they’ll also be able to pick up on any potential issues that may need to be treated. We’ll always work with your dentist to provide you with the best oral care across the board!
Take extra precautions to keep yourself safe, too
Since your oral health is connected to your overall health, keeping yourself protected from illnesses like COVID-19 and other viruses will help benefit your whole body, including your smile. There are several precautions you can take to avoid catching or spreading all types of sickness.
One of the most common recommendations from experts is to wear a mask any time you’re in public or around people who don’t live with you to help prevent the spread of germs. Social distancing still matters, however, even when you’re wearing a mask. Try to keep at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others whenever possible, and avoid indoor spaces if you can (especially if they’re crowded or poorly ventilated.)
The simplest way to keep yourself healthy is to wash your hands regularly. Any time you’ve been out in public, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do the same when you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water for any reason, you can use hand sanitizer, just be sure it contains at least 60% alcohol. And don’t forget to keep your hands away from your face and your mouth! This can be a hard habit to break, but the less chance we give germs to spread, the better off we’ll all be.
Give your some smile some extra orthodontic care this year
This past year has been a challenge in many ways, but Brace-Asaurus Orthodontics for All Ages is proud of you for keeping a smile on your face during this difficult time. We’re looking forward to working with you in the months ahead to achieve the healthy and confident smile you deserve!
Whether you’re a current patient or considering treatment with our Hamden office, our talented team is here to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. Get in touch today to talk with us or schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Desai!