December 27, 2017
We’re almost through the first month of a brand new year, and there’s a pretty good chance most of us have already let some of our resolutions fall by the wayside. You may not be hitting the gym as often as you promised, or losing weight as quickly as you planned, but there’s still time to make some resolutions you can stick to when it comes to your smile!
Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and the sense of momentum the New Year provides is the perfect opportunity to make positive, lasting changes to your dental routine. Since consistency is key with any resolution you make, it’s important to start small. Our Dudley Smiles team have put together this list of ideas for easy oral health resolutions that can brighten your smile in 2018 – and beyond!
Brush up on your dental hygiene routine
This is a simple tip, sure, but a surefire way to ensure your smile stays healthy and functional! Having an excellent oral hygiene routine is especially important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you are currently wearing braces, you’ll already know that maneuvering around the brackets and wires takes a little practice. For the very best results, remember to always:
- use fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
- replace your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
- brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth.
- look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible, since fuzzy-or dull-looking metal can indicate poor brushing.
- floss every night before you go to bed, taking advantage of tools like floss threaders and waterpiks if you’re having trouble getting into the various nooks and crannies.
Whether you’re wearing braces, or using a clear aligner therapy system like Invisalign, there are some dental hygiene basics that are necessary to follow for successful bacterial plaque removal. These include:
- Brush at least three to four times a day, after each meal and once before bed, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
- Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
- Floss at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness
- Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health
When done thoroughly, daily brushing and flossing will help to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Slow down on sugar!
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet is important since your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when you’re wearing braces. One of the best things you can do for your smile in 2018 is cut down on sugar and soft drinks. Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates are what fuel the bacteria on your teeth to produce acids that cause tooth decay to form. This is bad enough for teeth without braces, but when you add in brackets and bands, you have plenty of places in the mouth that are perfect for bacteria to hide and multiply in.
Soft drinks can actually affect both braces and aligners. Soda has both sugar and acid, which can double the risk to tooth enamel, and even cause unsightly decalcification if plaque that collects around the brackets isn’t removed. When it comes to aligners, small amounts of liquid seep into aligners when you take a drink, and the liquid is held against the teeth until the aligner is removed. If the liquid contains acid, like soft drinks do, the prolonged exposure can accelerate damage to teeth.
Another easy way to care for your mouth is to up your water intake! The role of saliva is to keep your mouth clean, and drinking water regularly helps encourage saliva production. It also helps flush pieces of food from your braces. This year, try keeping soda cans to a minimum and water bottles in your backpack or briefcase.
Keep your scheduled appointments (and don’t forget to see your dentist, too!)
Follow up visits for both braces and Invisalign are scheduled for about every 4-8 weeks. If you’ve been prone to skipping or rescheduling appointments frequently, let 2018 be all about you breaking that habit. These visits are a very important part of your treatment plan, and will help to ensure you get the very best results in the least amount of time. Adjustment appointments are pretty quick, taking around half an hour to an hour, and Invisalign check-ups are usually even shorter. We will always work with your schedule to get you in when it’s most convenient.
While you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with us, make sure you’re seeing your dentist regularly, too! Routine visits to the dentist throughout the year can help prevent oral disease, or catch an existing issue in the early stages. Dental visits should take place every six months so your oral health can be monitored closely, and an appropriate treatment plan can be developed in conjunction with us if necessary.
Looking ahead to 2018 with Dudley Smiles
We know how hard it can be to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes we don’t even make it until the middle of January with ours! The health of your smile depends on your success, though, so if you need a little extra encouragement, we’ve got you covered. Dr. Si and the rest of the Dudley Smiles team are proud of all the work you do to achieve your orthodontic goals, and are as excited as you are to see the final product. In the meantime, we’re always here to help you with any questions or concerns, and will happily provide a little cheerleading from the sidelines if you need extra support at any time. We’re looking forward to 2018 as a year of healthy, positive changes, and beautiful smiles, and are excited to have you be a part of it!