What does orthodontic care look like in 2021? As the change and uncertainty of the past year draws to a close, any return to regularity is welcome. Luckily, it’s business as usual in the world of orthodontic care, and now there are more options to keep your smile healthy – even from home!
Here at Bigman Orthodontics, we believe it’s critical to know how important your oral health is in contributing to your total body health. Now more than ever, we should all be taking precautions to ensure we keep our bodies safe and healthy. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you maintain your health in 2021!
Keep yourself and others safe
As recommended by the CDC and other public health officials, the simplest step that you can take to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 and other viruses is to wear a mask or face covering any time you’re in public or around people you don’t live with. Though masks are effective, remember that they aren’t a substitute for social distancing, so be sure 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.
In addition, don’t forget to wash your hands frequently and properly! Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds any time you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose, and after you’ve been in public. If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can use an FDA-approved hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol instead. Do your best to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially when you’re out in public. The fewer chances that we give germs to multiply and spread, the better off we’ll all be!
Brush up on your dental hygiene practices
Pandemic or not, many of us are still busy. Whether you’re working from home, doing school online, or commuting to the office, it’s easy to let an oral hygiene routine take a back seat. Of course, it’s important for everyone to practice good oral care, but it’s even more important if you’re in orthodontic treatment! If you wear 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 on 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, clear aligners or no orthodontic adjusters at all, there are some dental hygiene basics you should always maintain. Doing so will keep your mouth free of plaque and your teeth white! These basics include:
- brushing after each meal and once before bed with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
- brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to efficiently 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 fluoridated mouthwashes to 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!
Keep your mouth healthy by eating right
Maintaining a varied diet of nutritious foods is important at any time, but it is even more so during while undergoing an orthodontic treatment process. Braces can increase your risk of developing cavities, so making simple changes like cutting back on sugar and soda is one of the best things you can do for your smile!
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbs provide the bacteria on your teeth with fuel that allows acids to develop. These acids are what cause cavities to form and teeth to decay. Additionally, soda and other carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide that turns into carbonic acid once ingested. This carbonic acid can wear away enamel, making teeth more susceptible to cavities. Throw brackets and wires into the mix and you’ve got numerous places for bacteria to hide and multiply!
Another easy way to upkeep your oral hygiene is to increase your daily water intake. Drinking water helps encourage saliva production, which in turn helps keep your mouth clean. Water also helps flush food particles from your braces and in between your teeth. For 2021, try keeping cans of soda to a minimum and get yourself a reusable water bottle instead!
Keep your smile on track
2020 was a year full of temporary closures, rescheduled appointments, and general uncertainty. That being said, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be the year of getting everything back on track, including regular visits to ensure that your treatment is progressing as expected!
What does orthodontic care look like in 2021? If you are currently a patient with us, you already know that follow-up visits with Dr. Bigman are scheduled every 6-8 weeks. These check-ups are a vital part of your treatment plan and help ensure you get the best results in the least amount of time, no matter what appliance you’re using. We always strive to run on time so, given how quick adjustment appointments tend to be, you can be in and out and on with your day. We’ll always work with your schedule to get you the care you need when it’s most convenient for you.
While you’re going through the treatment process with us, be sure to check in with your 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 comprehensively monitored. This will allow us to develop a combined treatment plan with your dentist if necessary.
Look ahead with a smile from Bigman Orthodontics
Orthodontic care in 2021 might seem a little different than years past, but our team is committed to providing you with a positive, stress-free experience. With virtual appointments and a little extra care, you can keep your smile transformation on track.
If you’re ready to get started with learning more about what orthodontic care looks like in 2021 your orthodontic care in 2021, contact our team to schedule your free initial consultation with Dr. Bigman at our office in San Ramon. We’re here to help you achieve your smile goals!