Happy New Year! Now that the new year has arrived, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a few resolutions. Although you may focus on your health and well-being, it is also important to consider the care you provide to your teeth and gums – especially if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Although you may be working towards straighter teeth with orthodontics, it is important not to forget about proper oral hygiene. If you want to improve your oral health, there are a few practical tips to follow to ensure you reduce the risk of issues.
Follow the Right Instructions – and remember to Cut Out Hard and Sticky Foods!
Try to avoid cutting corners when it comes to the instructions your orthodontist gives you with wearing your rubber bands, clear aligners, instructions for appliances, etc. Wearing them will determine the results you achieve, making it necessary to trust your orthodontist and stick to the plan. You won’t have to worry about keeping the braces on for longer than necessary and can work towards a beautiful smile. Skipping a day or two here and there can cause you to form bad habits and makes it easy to get behind with the progress you make. If you missed your appointment, or your office was closed during the holidays, make sure to call and schedule your appointment so you don’t run behind in your treatment!
Be careful with chewing on sticky or chewy foods, which can break brackets. The texture of the food can not only break brackets, but can also put your teeth at risk. Cut out on nuts, popcorn, sticky candy, and caramel to ensure you protect your oral health and don’t encounter any delays with the progress you make with your braces. Remember this is only temporary – the goal is not to increase your time in treatment!
Stick to Routine Brushing and Flossing
When you wear braces, it can be easy to neglect brushing and flossing regularly because of the work it requires. Food particles are more prone to getting stuck in the braces, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and can cause the enamel to show white spot lesions. It can also increase your risk of gum disease! Make it a point to brush and floss twice each day, preferably after meals to prevent the food from sitting on your teeth and gums for too long. If you’re at the office or school and can’t brush or floss, opt for using mouthwash to kill germs, bacteria, and release lodged debris. It will hold you over until you’re able to brush and can also freshen your breath. Using flossers that are specifically designed for braces will also make it easier and quicker to floss. Pack a few of the items in your backpack or purse to ensure you can use them while you’re on the go. Ask your orthodontics team for tips if you are struggling.
Wear Your Mouthguard
If you’re an athlete or participate in gym class at school each day, you’re at a higher risk of getting a tooth knocked out when playing contact sports. It’s essential to wear a mouthguard to ensure you protect your teeth if your mouth gets bumped or you’re hit. If you don’t have a mouthguard, ask our orthodontist where you can get one that is comfortable to wear on the court or field. You can even select something that has your team colors to ensure it pairs well with your uniform.
Knowing the best resolutions to follow with your oral health can improve your smile for years to come.
– The Texas Association of Orthodontists Team