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 normality on the horizon, it’s easy to let some resolutions fall by the wayside. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to commit to caring for your smile in 2021! Here at Booth 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 achieve that in the upcoming months!

Protect yourself and others

There are many 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 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, and 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 in a pinch. It’s 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!

Brush up on your dental hygiene 

Even in a pandemic, many of us still have busy schedules. Whether we’re working from home and doing virtual school or still making the same commute to the office, it’s easy to get a little lazy with our oral hygiene routine. While it’s important for all of us to take care of our teeth and gums, it’s even more important if you’re an orthodontic patient. 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 stick to. 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 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 smile this year! 

Sugar is a carbohydrate, and it’s carbs that provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel for 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 stock up on water bottles instead! 

Don’t skip out on scheduled appointments

If you’re a current patient, you already know that follow-up visits are scheduled for every 6-8 weeks with our office. 2020 was a year full of temporary closings, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty. 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 as it should be! 

No matter what appliance you’re using, 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 aim to run on time, and adjustment appointments are pretty quick, anyway. 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, make sure 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 necessary.  

Booth Orthodontics: looking ahead with a smile

There’s been a lot to keep up with in 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. Take care, stay safe, and keep smiling!