A new year is a perfect excuse to focus on YOU. Many people use resolutions as a way to work towards better health, but even if you aren’t a fan of them, you can take advantage of the excitement that each January brings! While it’s popular to focus on losing weight or becoming more fit this time of year, it’s also a great time to give some thought to your oral health, which often goes hand in hand with your overall health.
Having a regular dental hygiene routine is the key to keeping your teeth and gums looking and feeling great, and Krieger Orthodontics is here to help you discover your happiest smile ever! We’ve put together a few of our favorite tips for achieving excellent oral health below, so keep reading to find out how to get your most confident smile ever in 2019!
Brushing up on your oral hygiene habits
It’s no secret that brushing and flossing daily is a huge part of having a healthy mouth, which is why we hear this message so often from the time we’re old enough to hold a toothbrush. But it always bears repeating since a good oral hygiene routine really is the best way to get a clean, healthy, and fully functioning mouth.
While it may seem simple, how you brush and floss is almost as important as how often you do it, and you’d be surprised how many people get this part wrong. That’s where we come in! In order to successfully rid your teeth and gums of the kind of bacterial plaque that can cause cavities and tooth decay, there are some basic steps you should always try to follow, including:
- brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
- brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to 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
- using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes as needed
While we always encourage people to take their oral health seriously, it’s even more important if you’re an orthodontic patient. Braces patients especially must take care to clean both their mouth and their appliance carefully since the brackets and wires can make things tricky. Aside from mastering the basics of brushing and flossing, we suggest the following tips to add some extra punch to your oral hygiene habits!
- Replace your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear (or when you’ve had a cold or any other illness)
- Brush around every part of your braces if you wear them
- Brush the surface of every tooth
- Floss every night before you go to bed
Clear aligner therapy
If you’re using a clear aligner system like Invisalign to straighten your smile, you’ll enjoy a bit more flexibility and freedom than those in traditional braces. However, patient compliance is essential for these systems to work properly. What that means is that you should be taking care of your aligners by:
- removing them every time you eat or drink anything other than water
- wearing them for 20-22 hours each day, throughout the course of treatment
- changing them out on the schedule Dr. Krieger has given you
Failure to follow our recommendations can result in a longer treatment time and may affect the success of the system overall.
Take advantage of the available tools
As mentioned above, traditional braces can sometimes complicate your dental hygiene routine, but there are many products available that are designed to make this process easier (and more efficient!)
For example, floss threaders are an excellent alternative to regular dental floss. It gets its name from the way it threads a bit like a needle, and works by pulling one end of the floss through the threader, then feeding the threader under the archwire. This allows you to grab the floss on each end, sliding it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums for a very thorough job. If you’d like to try floss threading but aren’t sure where to start, we’re happy to give you a demonstration the next time you’re in the office. It sounds more complicated than it actually is!
Interdental brushes are also a big help in keeping teeth clean since they’re able to fit easily in between the wires and the teeth, getting rid of plaque and food debris in those hard to reach areas. Oral irrigators like Waterpiks have a similar effect by shooting a targeted, high-pressure stream of water onto the teeth, removing any remaining food debris and plaque stuck between your teeth and braces.
Remember, none of these products should be used to replace your normal brushing and flossing routine. They’re for supplemental use only.
Clean teeth on the go
We recommend that our patients brush and floss after every meal, but we know that can be difficult when you’re on the go. Today’s families are busier than ever before, but you can get ahead of the game by stocking a small bag with toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and floss. If you’re a braces patient, toss a little bit of orthodontic wax in there, too, so you have a quick fix with you in case any minor emergencies pop up!
Get the smile you deserve in 2019 from Krieger Orthodontics
Here at Krieger Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to giving you a beautiful, fully functioning smile and a rewarding orthodontic experience. But our commitment to your care doesn’t stop there! We want you to have a healthy mouth, too, and you can get a great start by following the simple tips we’ve listed above. However, if you happen to need a little extra help or encouragement, our talented team is always here to help! We look forward to working with you this year towards the smile you want – and deserve.