Most of us couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2020, and now that the new year is going strong, things are really looking up! Here at About Faces and Braces Orthodontics, we want to remind you how important your oral health is to your total body health. Orthodontic care in 2021 might look a little different than years past, but with new ways to stay connected, it’s easier and more convenient, too!
Now more than ever, we should all be taking precautions to ensure we stay safe and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the small ways you can achieve that in the upcoming months!
Protect Yourself and Your Community
There are many simple ways to keep yourself and those around you protected from COVID-19 and other viruses. The most common recommendation from experts is to wear a mask any time you’re in public or around people who don’t live with you.
However, masks aren’t a substitute for social distancing, and you should continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others whenever possible. You should also try to avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, especially those that are crowded or poorly ventilated.
Last but certainly not least, wash your hands often and properly! Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds any time you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze, and after you’ve been in public. If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol instead. It’s a hard habit to break, but do your best to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you’re out in public. The less chance we give germs to multiply and spread, the better off we’ll all be!
Keep Up Your Dental Hygiene Routine
Even in a pandemic, many of us still have busy schedules to keep up with. Whether we’re working from home and doing virtual school or still making the same commute to the office, our oral hygiene routine can take a back seat. While it’s important for all of us to take proper care of our teeth and gums, it’s even more important if you’re going through orthodontic treatment.
If you’re wearing braces, you probably already know that it can take some creative maneuvering to get around the brackets and wires. For the best results, you should always:
- use fluoride toothpaste with a soft toothbrush
- replace your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear
- brush around every part of your braces and every surface of your teeth
- brush until your brackets are clean and shiny
- floss every night before you go to bed
- use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas
Whether you’re wearing traditional braces or clear aligners, there are some dental hygiene basics you should always stick to. Doing so will keep your mouth squeaky clean and free of plaque! These basics include
- brushing at least three to four times a day, after each meal and once before bed, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
- brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
- flossing at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day
- replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness
- using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health
Daily brushing and flossing will not only help prevent tooth decay and gum disease but keep your breath fresh as well!
Pay Attention to What You Put Into Your Mouth
Maintaining a healthy diet of nutritious foods is important at any time, but especially during the orthodontic treatment process. Your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when you’re wearing braces, so cutting back on things like sugar and soda is one of the best things you can do for your smile this year!
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbs are what provide the bacteria on your teeth the fuel they need for acids to develop. These acids are what cause tooth decay and cavities to form. This would be bad enough on teeth without braces, but add in brackets and wires and you’ve got multiple places for bacteria to hide and multiply.
Another easy way to keep your mouth in tip-top shape is to increase your daily water intake. Saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth clean, and drinking water frequently helps encourage saliva production. It also helps flush food particles from your braces and in between your teeth. This year, try keeping cans of soda to a minimum and stock up on water bottles instead!
Never Miss An Appointment
If you’re a current patient, you already know that follow-up visits are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks with our office. 2020 was a year full of temporary closings, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty. However, in 2021 you can keep up with your treatment in-person and virtually!
No matter what appliance you’re using, these check-ups are an important part of your treatment plan and help ensure you get the best results in the least amount of time. We always aim to run on time, and adjustment appointments are pretty quick, anyway. We’ll always work with your schedule to get you in when it’s most convenient.
While you’re going through the treatment process with us, make sure to check in with your regular dentist, too! Routine visits to the dentist throughout the year can help prevent oral disease and may catch an existing issue in the early stages. Plan to see your dentist every six months, so your oral health can be closely monitored. This will allow us to develop a combined treatment plan with your dentist if necessary.
Care for Your Smile with About Faces and Braces Orthodontics
There’s been a lot to keep up with in the last year, and we’re proud of you for making it through with your smile intact. Our expert team has got you covered this year, too, so if you need a little extra help or encouragement, we’re here for you! Schedule your free initial consultation or virtual visit today to keep your smile on track all 2021.