From mask mandates to social distancing, the past year has brought some major changes to our daily lives, and we’ve been proud to see Chicago come together to get through it all. Now that we seem to be approaching the end, we thought we could share some tips to help you brush up on the basics of orthodontic care.
Here at Windy City Orthodontics, we want you to have the knowledge and preparation to maintain your smile while staying safe and healthy throughout the year! Keep reading as we take a look at the best ways you can maintain your smile in the upcoming months.
Wash your hands regularly
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about orthodontic care, but keeping your hands clean is an essential part of your treatment! Your hands will be in close contact with your mouth when brush, flossing and handling any removable appliances, such as clear aligners or retainers. Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds whenever you practice oral care!
You should also remember to wash your hands any time you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze, and after you’ve been in public. If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as a substitute. It’s a hard habit to break, but do your best to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially when you’re out in public. The less chance we give germs to multiply and spread, the better off we’ll all be!
Maintain a consistent dental hygiene routine
Even as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we all still have busy schedules! Whether you’re making a daily commute to the office or keeping up a more virtual day-to-day, it can be easy to let your oral hygiene routine take a backseat.
While it’s important for everyone to take care of their teeth and gums, it’s even more important if you’re an orthodontic patient! 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 will keep your breath fresh, too!
Maintain a nutritious diet and healthy habits
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is always important, but it’s even more so during the treatment process. Sugar is a carbohydrate, and it’s carbs that provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel for acids to develop, which in turn causes tooth decay and cavities to form. This would be bad enough on teeth without braces, but add brackets and wires to the mix and you’ve got multiple places for bacteria to hide and multiply.
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!
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 get a reusable water bottle instead!
Don’t miss your scheduled appointments
If you’re a current patient, you already know that follow-up visits are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks with our office. Fortunately, we offer in-person and virtual visits to keep these appointments manageable!
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. 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.
Look ahead with a smile with Windy City Orthodontics
There’s been a lot to keep up with within 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. Once you brush up on the basics of orthodontic care, you can maintain your smile with renewed confidence!
If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier smile, contact our Chicago office today. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!