There’s no denying that 2020 was a challenging year for us all. Now that there’s a little hope on the horizon, it feels like the perfect time to celebrate the positives of a brand new year! Although we’re two months into 2021, there’s still plenty of time to commit to improving your oral health. Here at Wiesemann Orthodontics, we’re proud to create beautiful smiles for families in South Central KY and North Central TN. We believe the best smiles look great and feel even better! As an orthodontic patient, you have a role to play in that, too. Keep reading below for tips on orthodontic care in 2021, while simultaneously giving your smile some extra TLC —and beyond!
Taking it back to the basics for braces care
Good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s essential for orthodontic patients. Brushing and flossing regularly is one of the easiest ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout the treatment process. We encourage our patients to brush 3-4 times each day, for at least two minutes each time. Ideally, we’d like to see you brushing after every meal and snack, and before bed each night. Don’t forget to floss! This should also be an essential part of your nighttime routine.
If you wear braces, you’ll need to pay special attention to cleaning around the wires and in the areas between the brackets and gums. This can come with a bit of a learning curve, particularly in the early days, but you’ll get there with a little patience and practice! Take advantage of products like interdental brushes and ortho-picks to help you get into those hard-to-reach areas with greater ease.
Floss threaders are another tool that makes oral hygiene less time-consuming for braces patients! 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 when we write it out, but it’s actually very simple. If you’re interested in trying floss threaders, let us know and we’ll be happy to give you a demonstration the next time you’re in the office!
You can also use waterpiks and other oral irrigators in your regular brushing and flossing routine. These specialized products use targeted high-pressure streams of water to help remove food debris from between your teeth and braces.
Remember the fundamentals for everyone
Even if you already have a solid understanding of oral hygiene, it’s useful to review the basic guidelines every now and again since recommendations occasionally change. It’s also a good idea to brush up on proper brushing and flossing. How you do it matters almost as much as how often you do it! For the best results, you should always:
- 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 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 the 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
- flossing every night before bed
When you maintain an excellent dental hygiene routine like this, it will keep your teeth and gums healthy, freshen your breath, and reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Keep your smile looking good on the go
Most of us have kept pretty close to home for the last year, but some restrictions are finally easing and people are feeling more confident about safely venturing out. That means you may find yourself out and about again soon! You can keep your smile looking good on the go by packing a small bag of supplies to toss in your purse, backpack, or briefcase. Include the essentials like toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and dental floss, plus orthodontic wax if you wear braces.
Take extra precautions to keep you and your smile safe
You may not be aware of it, but your oral health is connected to your overall health. When you keep yourself safe from illnesses like COVID-19, your smile and your body will benefit. 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, 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.)
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. When used correctly, hand sanitizer is fast-acting and an effective way to remove germs from your hands.
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 and bacteria to spread, the better off we’ll all be.
Look ahead with a smile from Wiesemann Orthodontics
At Wiesemann Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide patients of all ages with happy, healthy, and functional 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. If you’re not currently a patient but would like to learn more about the orthodontic care we offer, we’d love to hear from you. This could be the year you give your smile the care and attention it deserves! Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Wiesemann.