The past year brought some major changes to our daily lives. From mask mandates to social distancing, we’ve been proud to see our community come together to get through it all. Now that we’re a few months into the new year, things have started to take a turn for the better! That being said, you may be wondering what orthodontic care in 2021 looks like. Here at Foley Orthodontics, we believe you should have the knowledge and preparation to maintain your smile while staying safe and healthy throughout the year!
Let’s take a look at some of the small ways you can maintain your orthodontic care in the upcoming months!
Protect yourself and your community
There are many simple ways to keep yourself and those around you protected from COVID-19 and other viruses. 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.
Remember that masks aren’t a substitute for social distancing, and you should 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 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 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 during a pandemic, many of us are still busy with working from home, doing virtual school, or still making the same commute to the office. It’s easy to get a little lazy with our oral hygiene routine when we’re balancing so many other things. While it’s important for all of us to take care of our 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 keep your breath fresh as well!
Maintain a healthy diet and healthy habits
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is always important, but it’s even more so during the treatment process. 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!
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and it’s carbs that provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel for acids to develop. These acids are what cause 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.
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 skip out on 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. You may have had to miss a few appointments in 2020, however, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be the year of getting everything back on track, including regular office visits!
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 aim to run on time, and adjustment appointments are 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 Foley 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! We’re looking forward to 2021 and are excited to have you be a part of it with us.
If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier smile, contact our Cary office today. We would love to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!