Even if you aren’t a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, there’s something about exciting about the beginning of a brand new year. Flipping over the first page of the calendar often inspires us to review and reset our habits, whether it’s losing weight and exercising more often, or paying more attention to your oral health, which is an important part of your overall health. Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we want to help you keep your smile looking and feeling amazing this year! January may be flying by already, but you’ve still got plenty of time to embrace these simple tips that can have a big impact on your smile in 2019.
Taking it back to the basics
From the time we’re old enough to hold a toothbrush, we’re reminded over and over about how important it is to brush and floss regularly, even if we didn’t always listen. But a good dental hygiene routine really is the best – and easiest – thing you can do to keep your smile healthy and fully functioning. To remove bacterial plaque successfully, there are some basics you should be following, including:
- brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using 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 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’ve had a cold or any other illness
- using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes for an extra boost!
These are good habits for everyone to adopt, but they’re even more important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you’re one of our braces patients, the areas between your brackets and gums and the spaces in between the wires and your teeth need to be carefully cleaned, but you probably know that can be a little tricky sometimes. If you haven’t already tried them, interdental brushes can make this a much simpler process since they fit easily into hard to reach spots, helping to remove any sticky plaque and food debris you might have missed. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik are another useful tool. These use a high-pressure, targeted stream of water to clean the teeth more efficiently.
If you’re in braces, you’ll be able to get the best results from your dental hygiene routine by:
- using fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush
- replacing your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear
- brushing around every part of your braces, and the surface of every tooth
- flossing every night before you go to bed, taking advantage of tools like floss threaders and waterpiks if you’re having trouble getting into the tighter spaces
If you’re straightening your smile with a clear aligner system like Invisalign, be sure you’re removing your aligner every time you eat or drink anything other than water. You should also be gently cleaning your aligner regularly, as well as changing it out as directed by Dr. Da Silveira.
Let good food be your guide
With Christmas treats finally finished, and Valentine’s candy already lining the supermarket shelves, there’s no better time than now to remind yourself about the important role food plays in keeping your teeth healthy, including the items you should avoid if you’re in braces. That includes:
- Chewy foods like fruit snacks and bagels
- Crunchy foods such as chips, nuts, and hard candy
- Sticky foods like caramels, gum, and certain types of candy
Although food restrictions can be frustrating, try to remember that they’re only temporary. All your hard work will pay off once we reveal your new smile! There’s are many foods you can still indulge in that are good for your mind, body, and mouth, as well.
For example, milk and other dairy products pack a calcium-filled punch that can help bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. Whole grain breads and pastas are full of complex carbohydrates that give bacteria less digestible food to grow on. Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish like salmon are loaded with phosphorus, an important mineral that helps strengthen and protect tooth enamel. And last but certainly not least, eating a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do for your body! A variety of these give you magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, and magnesium, minerals that play a vital role in maintaining oral health.
If you really want to make your smile sparkle, consider cutting down on your consumption of sugar and soft drinks! Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates feed the bacteria on your teeth, encouraging them to produce the acids that cause tooth decay. Soft drinks also contain sugar and acid that can wear away at the enamel on your teeth and cause unsightly decalcification if plaque is allowed to collect around the brackets if you wear braces.
On the go care
Although we recommend brushing and flossing after every meal, that can sometimes be difficult if you’re away from home. With today’s families busier than ever before, you can prepare to care for your teeth and gums on the go by stocking a small bag with toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and floss. If you’re a braces patient, add a bit of orthodontic wax to your kit, too. This will give you a quick fix in case you experience any minor emergencies!
BEE your best in 2019 with a Bee Cave smile
If you want to get your smile off to the very best start this year, follow the simple tips we’ve listed above. Our team is here to support you, answer any questions you have, or provide a little extra encouragement from time to time if you need it! We believe 2019 will be a year of healthy habits, lasting changes, and BEE HAPPY smiles in Austin this year, and we’re excited to share that vision with you!