The new year is just around the corner, and if you’re like us, you’re already working on your New Year’s resolution list. Hitting the gym or being more charitable may be the first things that come to mind, but you may not think about your smile. At Central Massachusetts Orthodontics, we’ve got some New Year’s smile resolutions that will keep your smile shining throughout 2023!
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! An excellent oral hygiene routine is essential during orthodontic treatment. Remember to always:
- Use fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush for the best results.
- Replace your toothbrush as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around every part of your braces and every surface of your teeth.
- Look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets 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.
Some dental hygiene basics are necessary for successful bacterial plaque removal, whether wearing braces or Invisalign. 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 remove bacteria effectively 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.
Daily brushing and flossing will help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath when done thoroughly.
Slow down on sugar!
Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet is essential during orthodontic treatment since your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when wearing braces. One of the best things you can do for your smile in 2023 is to cut down on sugar and soft drinks.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates fuel the bacteria on your teeth to produce acids that cause tooth decay. This is bad enough for teeth without braces, but when you add in brackets and bands, you have plenty of places where the bacteria can hide and multiply.
Soft drinks can affect both braces and aligners. Soda has 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 them when you take a drink, and the liquid is held against the teeth until you remove the aligner. If the liquid contains acid, as soft drinks do, 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 encourages 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 remember to see your dentist!)
Follow-up visits for braces and Invisalign are scheduled every 4-8 weeks. If you’ve been prone to skipping or rescheduling appointments frequently, let 2023 be all about breaking that habit. These visits are an essential part of your treatment plan and will help ensure you get the best results in the least amount of time. Adjustment appointments are 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 undergoing orthodontic treatment with us, make sure you see your dentist regularly! 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 occur every six months so we can monitor your oral health closely, and an appropriate treatment plan can be developed in conjunction with us if necessary.
Look forward to 2023 with Central Massachusetts Orthodontics
We know how hard it can be to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes, we don’t even make it with ours until the middle of January! The health of your smile depends on your success, though, so if you need extra encouragement, we’ve got you covered.
We’re looking forward to 2023 as a year of healthy, positive changes and beautiful smiles, and we are excited to have you be a part of it!