As we’re getting into the swing of 2019, there’s a sense of excitement in the air. Even if you don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, it’s hard to deny the momentum that can come with beginning a brand new year! Many of us use this energy to tackle weight loss or start up a gym membership. Maybe you want to start saving up for that special vacation, or finally quit smoking. Whatever positive changes you’re considering for the year ahead, there’s probably one topic you won’t hear too much about in January: your smile!
If you’re working towards a better version of yourself this year, now is the perfect time to review your dental hygiene routine. Your oral health and your overall health often go hand in hand, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Glass Orthodontics wants to help your smile look and feel amazing this year, so we’ve put together a handful of helpful tips. Keep reading below to learn more on how you can keep your smile in shape in 2019!
Get back to the basics
From parents and teachers to doctors and dentists, you’ve probably heard the same thing since you were old enough to hold a toothbrush: brushing and flossing daily is a huge part of having a healthy mouth. This message is repeated so often because it’s true! A good oral hygiene routine really is the best way to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, and your mouth functioning the way that it should. And while it may not seem like rocket science, you’d be surprised by how many people don’t brush or floss properly. When it comes to dental hygiene, how you brush and floss is almost as important as how often you do it.
To successfully remove the kind of bacterial plaque that can cause cavities and tooth decay, there are several basic steps you should always follow. These include:
- brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
- brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to 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
- using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes if needed (or if you want a little boost!)
Everyone should take their oral health seriously, but this is especially important for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. Patients in braces in particular must be thorough since the brackets and wires can sometimes make it tricky to clean effectively. Fortunately, there are a number of products available designed to make this a simpler process. Interdental brushes can easily fit into those hard to reach spots, removing any missed plaque and food debris, while oral irrigators use a high-pressured stream of water to further clean and rinse. If you want to add some extra oomph to your oral hygiene habits, try:
- replacing your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear (or if you’ve had any colds or illnesses)
- brushing around every part of your braces if you wear them
- brushing the surface of every tooth
- flossing every night before you go to bed, taking advantage of tools like a floss threader or waterpik if you’re having trouble reaching the tighter spaces
Are you using a clear aligner system like Invisalign rather than traditional braces to straighten your smile? Take care of your aligners by removing them every time you eat or drink anything other than water. For the best results, you should also be wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours per day throughout the course of treatment, as well as changing them out on the schedule Dr. Glass has created for you. This is an essential part of the treatment process! The system can’t work without your cooperation.
Make healthier choices for a healthier smile
Valentine’s Day candy is already lined up on the supermarket shelves, a great reminder to review all the items you should be avoiding if you’re in braces! Put the following foods on the back burner until your treatment is complete.
- Chewy foods like fruit snacks and bagels
- Crunchy foods such as chips, nuts, and hard candy
- Sticky foods like caramels, gum, and certain types of candy
We know that food restrictions can be frustrating, and they’re often one of the biggest learning curves that come with braces. The good news is, they’re only temporary, and we can guarantee that all your hard work will be worth it once your braces come off and you see your new smile!
Along with refreshing yourself on what you should be steering clear of, it’s worth looking at the important role food plays in your oral health. Meals and snacks that are good for your mind, body, and your mouth can go a long way towards making your mouth happy. For example, milk and other dairy products help your bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. Whole grain breads and pastas have complex carbohydrates and give bacteria less digestible food to grow on. Chicken and fatty fish like salmon are full of phosphorus, which can strengthen and protect the enamel on your teeth. And of course, there’s an a wealth of fruits and veggies out there that can give you everything from vitamins A and C to beta carotene and magnesium.
If you want to give your smile some star power this year, consider cutting way back on your consumption of sugar and soft drinks. Since sugar is a carbohydrate, it feeds the bacteria on your teeth, encouraging them to produce acids that causes tooth decay. Soft drinks contain both sugar and acid, a double threat to the enamel of your teeth. This combination can be even worse for patients in braces, thanks to unsightly decalcification marks if plaque is allowed to collect around the brackets.
Make this year’s smile your best ever with Glass Orthodontics
At Glass Orthodontics, our talented team is committed to creating a beautifully aligned smile for you, but our care doesn’t stop there! We want you to have a healthy mouth, too. While you can get your smile off to a great start this year by following the simple tips we’ve listed above, we’re always around if you happen to need a little extra help or encouragement. We believe this year will be full of positive change and confident smiles, a vision that we’re excited to share with our patients like you!