After all the challenges of 2020, the first two months of 2021 have felt a little more hopeful. In that same spirit of positivity, we’d like to talk about how you can improve your oral health this year—and beyond! Our goal here at New England Orthodontic Specialists is to create healthy smiles that look great and feel even better, but you have a part to play in that, too. To learn more about how you can give your smile the best orthodontic care in 2021, keep reading below!
Get back to basics
Good oral hygiene habits are one of the easiest ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. We encourage all of our patients to brush their teeth 3-4 times each day, for at least two minutes each time. Brush after every meal and snack, and before bed each night. Flossing should also be an essential part of your nighttime routine!
If you wear braces, you’ll want to be especially careful about cleaning around the wires and in the areas between the brackets and gums. This takes a little patience, but helpful tools like interdental brushes and ortho-picks can help you get into those hard-to-reach areas, removing plaque and food debris with ease.
Floss threaders are another way to make flossing easier for braces patients. They thread a little like a needle, hence the name! One end of the floss is pulled through the threader, then the threader is fed beneath the archwire. This allows you to grab the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of the teeth. You’ll also be able to floss under the gums. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually very easy to do. If you want to try floss threaders, let us know and we’ll be happy to demonstrate them for you the next time you’re in the office!
Waterpiks and other oral irrigators can also be used in conjunction with your regular brushing and flossing routine. These send high-pressure streams of water into your mouth, helping to remove any remaining debris from between your teeth and braces.
Follow the fundamentals
You may have a perfectly effective plan in place for dental hygiene, but it still helps to review the guidelines for oral health every once in a while since recommendations occasionally change. It’s also a good idea to brush up on the best methods for successfully removing plaque and bacteria, like:
- brushing every tooth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- being consistent when brushing across each tooth
- holding the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line
- brushing from the base of the tooth up to the chewing surface
- using short, round strokes for the front and the back of teeth
- using short, sweeping strokes for the chewing surfaces
- brushing the tongue and roof of the mouth from back to front
- replacing your toothbrush every few months or after any illness
- flossing every night before bed
Taking good care of your smile in this way will keep your teeth and gums healthy, freshen your breath, and reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Take your smile on the road
Most of us have had to keep close to home the last several months, but with restrictions easing, you may find yourself out and about again soon! Keep your smile looking good on the go by packing a small bag of supplies for your purse, backpack, or briefcase. Include essentials like toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and some dental floss, as well as dental wax if you’re a braces patient.
Take extra precautions to keep you and your smile safe
Your oral health is connected to your overall health, which means your smile and your body will benefit from the precautions you take to keep yourself safe from illnesses like COVID-19. There are many simple steps you can take to avoid catching or spreading all kinds of illnesses! 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, 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.)
One of the easiest ways 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.
Another expert tip is to keep your hands away from your face and your mouth. While this can be a hard habit to break, the less chance we give germs to spread, the better off we’ll all be.
The future looks bright at New England Orthodontic Specialists
The talented team here at New England Orthodontic Specialists is led by Dr. Diana and Dr. Neil, two expert orthodontists who are excited about providing patients with a solid foundation for their smiles. We hope you’ve found these tips and guidelines helpful, and can’t wait to see your smile thrive in 2021!
If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan, remember you can reach out any time for support. Want to learn more about the orthodontic care we offer? Get in touch with us today! We’d love to schedule you for a FREE consultation with one of our doctors. May this be the year you find your best smile!