The past year has come with enough changes to last a lifetime! Now that we’re all adjusted to the new normal way of life, we can finally start getting back to our routines – that includes maintaining our oral health. Fortunately, there are more options than ever to stay on track with orthodontic care in 2021!
Here at Stacy Wolf Orthodontics, we want to remind you how important your oral health is to your total body health. We are still dealing with a global pandemic, so 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 achieve that in the upcoming months!
Protect yourself and others
There are plenty of 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 or other face-covering 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, though! 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 soap and water aren’t readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as a substitute. It can be 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!
Refresh your dental hygiene routine
Even in a pandemic, many of us still have busy schedules! Whether you’re working from home and doing virtual school or still making the same commute to the office, it can be easy to get a little complacent with your oral hygiene routine. It’s important for everyone to practice good oral care, but it’s absolutely crucial if you’re going through orthodontic treatment!
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 maintain. 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!
Pay attention to what you put in your mouth
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is important at any time, but especially during the orthodontic 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 orthodontic care 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 add in brackets and wires and you’ve got multiple places for bacteria to hide and multiply.
Another easy way to keep your mouth in tip-top 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 invest in a reusable water bottle instead!
Don’t miss your scheduled appointments
If you’re currently going through treatment with Dr. Wolf, you already know that follow-up visits are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks at our Bayside office. 2020 was a year full of temporary closings, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty. However, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be the year of getting everything back on track, including regular visits to check that your treatment is progressing according to plan!
No matter what appliance you’re using, these check-ups are an essential 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 we’ll work with your schedule to get you in when it’s most convenient. Since adjustment appointments tend to be pretty quick, you can fit a visit to our office into your day and make it back to school or work in no time.
While you’re going through the treatment process with us, you should continue 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 it becomes necessary.
Look ahead with a smile with Stacy Wolf Orthodontics
There’s been no shortage of changes in the last year and we’re so proud of our community for making it through with smiles. Our expert team is here for you this year, too, so if you need a little extra help or encouragement, you’re never alone! We’re looking forward to 2021 and are excited to have you be a part of it with us.
If you’re ready to get started with your orthodontic care in 2021, contact our team to schedule your free initial consultation with Dr. Wolf at our Bayside office. We can’t wait to help you achieve your smile goals!