The start of a new year always comes with a little extra hope, and that’s definitely the case this year! With so much change and adjustment this past year, the return of any sense of normalcy is welcome. Thankfully, orthodontic care in 2021has kept up and now there are more options to keep your smile healthy – even from home!
Here at Brady Orthodontics, we believe it’s important to know how important your oral health is to your total body health. 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 others
There are some simple steps to take to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 and other viruses. One of the most common recommendations from health experts is to wear a mask or face covering any time you’re in public or around people you don’t live with. Remember that masks aren’t a substitute for social distancing, though, and 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 as a substitute. It can be 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!
Brush up on your dental hygiene
Even in a pandemic, many of us still have busy schedules. Whether you’re working from home, doing virtual school, or still making the same commute to the office, it’s easy to let our oral hygiene routine take a backseat. While it’s important for everyone to practice good oral care, it’s even more important if you’re in 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 maintain. 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 in your mouth
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is important at any time, but especially during the orthodontic treatment process. When you’re wearing braces, your teeth are more susceptible to cavities, so cutting back on things like sugar and soda is one of the best things you can do for your smile!
Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbs provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel that allows acids to develop. These acids are what cause tooth decay and cavities to form. This would be bad enough on teeth without braces, but throw brackets and wires into the mix and you’ve got multiple places for bacteria to hide and multiply.
Another easy way to keep your mouth in the best 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!
Don’t miss out on scheduled appointments
If you’re a current patient, you already know that follow-up visits with Dr. Brady are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks. 2020 was a year full of temporary closings, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty. That being said, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be the year of getting everything back on track, including regular visits to check that your treatment is progressing as scheduled!
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 strive to run on time and adjustment appointments tend to be pretty quick, so you can be in and out in a breeze. 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, be 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.
Look ahead with a smile from Brady Orthodontics
Orthodontic care in 2021 might look a little different than years past, but our team is committed to providing you with a positive, stress-free experience. With virtual appointments and a little extra time, you can keep your smile transformation on track.
If you’re ready to get started with your orthodontic care in 2021, contact our team to schedule your free initial consultation with Dr. Brady at our office in Winnetka. We’re here to help you achieve your oral health goals!