With a bit of normality on the horizon after a really tough year, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. With locations in Cambridge, Pine City, and Lindstrom, Embrace Orthodontics is doing our part to create healthier mouths and beautiful smiles for our community with orthodontic care in 2021! We’re committed to helping you care for your oral health, and there are many ways to keep your smile in good shape this year. Let’s take a closer look at some of them below!
Take precautions to keep yourself and your community safe
Did you know that your oral health is connected to your overall health? Keeping yourself protected from illnesses like COVID-19 and other viruses will benefit your body and your smile! There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid catching or spreading all types of sickness. One of the most common recommendations from experts is to wear a mask any time you’re in public or around people who don’t live with you to help prevent the spread of germs.
Social distancing still matters, even if you are wearing a mask. Try to keep at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others whenever possible, and avoid indoor spaces if you can (especially if they’re crowded!)
One of the easiest ways to keep yourself healthy is to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after you’ve been out in public, as well as any time you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water for any reason, you can use hand sanitizer in a pinch. It should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective, however. Do your best to keep your hands away from your face, too, especially your mouth. The less opportunity we give germs to spread, the better off we’ll all be!
Up your dental hygiene game
Even if you’re working from home or doing virtual school, family life tends to be busy. It can be easy to get a little lazy about our oral hygiene! While we should all take good care of our teeth and gums, it matters even more when you’re an orthodontic patient. If you’re already in braces, you probably know a few tricks for keeping the brackets and wires clean. Here are a few other tips to help you get the most out of your dental hygiene routine.
- 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.
- Take advantage of tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas effectively.
Whether you wear traditional braces or Invisalign aligners, there are some guidelines you should always heed to keep your teeth squeaky clean and free from bacteria and plaque! These include the following.
- Brush at least 3-4 times a day, after each meal and once before bed.
- Use a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Gently brush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, 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.
- Consider using an antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwash to further improve your oral health.
A good oral care routine will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, keep your breath fresh, and give you a healthy, happy smile!
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a varied diet of nutritious foods is food for your body in general, but it can also be good for your teeth. This is especially true for braces patients, who are more susceptible to cavities during the treatment process. Cutting back on sugary snacks and soda could be one of the best things you do for your smile in 2021!
Why sugar specifically? It’s a carbohydrate, which provides the bacteria on your teeth with fuel for acids to develop. These acids are what cause tooth decay and cavities to form. This isn’t ideal for anyone, of course, but when you add in all the components that make up braces, you’ve got plenty of places for bacteria to hide, multiply, and cause problems.
Increasing your water intake is another simple way to keep your mouth in excellent shape. 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. Reach for a bottle of water instead of a can of soda this year and see how much happier your smile will be!
Stick to the schedule
Although 2020 saw many rescheduled appointments and temporary closings, we’re hopeful that in 2021 things will be back on track. Follow-up visits are an essential part of any orthodontic journey, and tend to be scheduled every 8-10 weeks depending on your treatment plan. These appointments allow our doctors to check your teeth are moving in healthy ways and ensure things are progressing as expected. This will provide the best results in the least amount of time. These visits tend to be fairly short, and we always aim to run on time. We’ll always work with your schedule to get you in when it’s most convenient for you and your family.
Check in with your dentist throughout the year
While you’re going through the treatment process with our team, make sure to check in with your regular dentist, too. Routine visits to your dentist throughout the year are necessary to prevent oral disease and may catch any existing issues in their early stages. Plan to see your dentist every six months so your oral health can be closely monitored. If it becomes necessary, we can work with your dentist to develop a combined treatment plan.
Look ahead with a smile from Embrace Orthodontics
As challenging as last year was, you should be proud of yourself for making it through with your smile intact! We look forward to working with you in 2021 from our Cambridge, Pine City, and Lindstrom offices. Whether you’re a current patient or looking to improve your smile in the months ahead, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with any questions or concerns, or click here to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Sievers or Dr. Van Vooren.