Most of us couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2020, and now that we’re a month into the new year, things are looking up at last! In our excitement over some normalcy on the horizon, it’s easy to let some resolutions fall by the wayside. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to commit to orthodontic care in 2021! Here at Buttram Orthodontics, we want to remind you how important your oral health is to your total body health. Now more than ever, we should all be taking precautions to ensure we stay safe and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the small ways you can care for your smile in the upcoming months!
Brush up on your dental hygiene
Even in a pandemic, many of us still have busy schedules. Whether you’re working from home, doing virtual school, or still making the same commute to the office, it’s easy to let our oral hygiene routine take a backseat. While it’s important for everyone to practice good oral care, it’s even more important if you’re wearing braces or aligners! If you have 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 Soft-Picks 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 maintain. Doing so will keep your mouth squeaky clean and free of plaque! These 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 or using a Soft-Picks 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 not only help prevent tooth decay and gum disease but keep your breath fresh as well!
Pay attention to what you put in your mouth
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is important, but especially during the orthodontic treatment process. When you’re wearing braces, your teeth are more susceptible to cavities, so cutting back on things like sugar and soda is one of the best things you can do for your smile in 2021!
Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbs provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel that allows acids to develop. These acids are what cause tooth decay and cavities to form. This would be bad enough on teeth without braces, but throw brackets and wires into 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 stock up on water bottles instead!
Never miss a check-up
If you’re a current patient, you already know that follow-up visits with Dr. Buttram are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks. Between temporary closings, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty, orthodontic care in 2020 was a little different than we’re used to. That being said, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be the year of getting everything back on track, including regular visits to ensure that your treatment is on track!
Whether you’re in braces or clear aligners, 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, so you can be in and out in a breeze. 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, be sure to visit 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 from Buttram Orthodontics
There’s been a lot to keep up with throughout 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. Schedule your free virtual or in-person consultation with Dr. Buttram at our Panama City office, and our team will make sure you’re smiling all year long!