Are you looking to take your smile to the next level in 2019? Do you want to improve your oral health, give your smile some extra sparkle, and straighten your teeth at the same time? Dillehay Orthodontics is here to help! We’ve put together our top tips for keeping your mouth healthy and your smile in shape this year. Keep reading below to learn more!

How is your oral hygiene routine looking?

If you want your teeth and gums to look and feel great, a good oral hygiene routine is key. While most of us are pretty set in our ways when it comes to brushing and flossing, it’s worth reviewing your own habits every now and then. Guidelines and recommendations can change, and you want to be sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your mouth healthy.

It’s no secret that brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to maintain good oral health, but how you carry out these tasks is almost as important as how often you do so. This is where many people get it wrong, and that’s where we come in!

When bacterial plaque is allowed to sit and accumulate, it can cause cavities and tooth decay. In some cases, it may even lead to gum disease eventually. In order to successfully remove it, there are some basic rules you should always follow when cleaning your teeth and gums.To get the most out of your dental hygiene routine, you should be:

  • brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, preferably with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
  • brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
  • flossing at least once per day to remove any bacteria and food that has accumulated
  • using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes as needed
  • replacing your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear (or when you’ve had a cold or any other illness)
  • brushing around every part of your braces if you wear them

While all of us should be taking our oral health seriously, it’s even more important that you do so as an orthodontic patient. This is especially true for if you’re wearing traditional braces, as the brackets and wires can create lots of nooks and crannies that trap food debris and bacteria. These areas often take a little more time and effort to clean thoroughly.

Lady with Invisalign

A note for our Invisalign patients

For patients using a clear aligner system like Invisalign rather than traditional braces, you’re not off the hook when it comes to caring for your teeth! While you may enjoy a little bit more freedom and flexibility, you should still be maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine. It’s also worth remembering that Invisalign relies entirely on patient compliance to work, so you should be:

  • removing your aligners every time you eat or drink anything other than water
  • wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment
  • changing your aligners out on the schedule given to you by our doctors

Not following our recommendations throughout the orthodontic process can result in longer treatment times and may even affect the overall success of the system.

Try out the available tools

As we mentioned briefly, traditional braces can sometimes complicate your dental hygiene routine, especially in the early years. The good news is that there are many products available that have been designed to make the cleaning process easier for you!

Floss threaders are a good example. As an alternative to regular dental flossing, they threads a bit like a needle, and work by pulling one end of the floss through the threader, then feeding the threader under the archwire. This allows you to grab the floss on each end, sliding it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums for a very thorough job.

Interdental brushes are another favorite for keeping teeth clean while you’re in braces. They’re able to easily fit in between the wires and the teeth, removing plaque and food debris from areas that can otherwise be hard to reach. We also love oral irrigators like Waterpiks, which work similarly by shooting a high-pressure stream of water onto the teeth, targeting any remaining food debris and plaque stuck between your teeth and braces.

Keep in mind that as helpful as these products can be, they should never take the place of your normal oral hygiene routine. Using them in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing will provide the best results.

Simplify on-the-go care

It would be amazing if all our patients would brush and floss after every meal and snack, but we know how hard that can be if you’re always on the go! Get ahead of the game and stay prepared for oral care away from home by filling a small bag with toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and floss. If you’re in braces, add some orthodontic wax, too. This will give you a quick fix in case any minor emergencies pop up!

Two girls with braces

Dillehay Orthodontics can help your smile shine in 2019

At Dillehay Orthodontics, our entire team works hard to give you the best orthodontic experience possible, from your first appointment to your last. We provide personalized treatment designed to give you a beautiful smile and fully functional mouth, but our care doesn’t stop there! You can count on us if you have any questions or concerns, or simply need a little extra encouragement. And while the simple tips we’ve listed above give you a great start on improving your oral health, we’ll always go above and beyond to guarantee you the brightest, healthiest smile!