Orthodontic Health Month is an excellent time to get your teeth in shape. There are a few things that you can do to help improve your outlook, including seeing the Orthodontist, eating the right foods, and following ortho best practices. Follow these 10 can’t miss healthy habits for your oral health.
1. Brush after eating
By brushing after eating, you’re not letting food sit on your braces and in the small spaces of your appliance. This helps prevent bacteria growth.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes.
2. Floss once a day
For the same reason you want to brush regularly, you also want to floss regularly. Floss helps clear out any build-up from the day in those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth and gums. Flossing is essential for your oral hygiene, and it only takes a few moments out of your day.
According to a study by DentaVox, 31% of survey participants admit they used to floss regularly but dropped this habit with many saying this was due to no time.
3. Avoid hard & chewy foods
Hard and chewy foods can rip off wires and brackets. You’ll want to avoid anything that can break your appliance to keep yourself on track with your orthodontic treatment.
4. Wear those retainers, bands, appliances as instructed!
When the doctor or technician gives instructions to wear your bands, retainers, or other appliances a certain way, it’s important to follow those directions! Straying from your treatment plan can cause you to stay in treatment longer. Also, retainers keep your smile straight. If you don’t wear that retainer, your teeth will move!
5. If something breaks or is lost, let us know right away!
If a wire comes out or a bracket comes off, it’s important to call your orthodontist as soon as you can. At OX Orthodontix, we’ll ask you to send in pictures to determine how immediately you need to be seen. If it’s a minor issue, it might be able to be fixed at your next scheduled appointment. However, if it’s more major, you’ll want to be seen as soon as possible.
6. Create a mobile cleaning kit
You might be busy with school, work, a family, or all of the above! It’s important that you keep your health a priority and you can do so by creating a mini cleaning kit. Grab a little bag and pack the essentials – a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, interdental brushes, wax if you have braces, and your retainer. By being prepared, you’re ready for anything the day might throw you!
7. Take out your Invisalign when eating or drinking liquids other than water. Then immediately put them back in!
Taking your Invisalign out when you’re eating and drinking is important so food and other sugary beverages don’t get stuck inside the aligners. However, as soon as you’re done consuming any food or beverage, pop them back in so your teeth can get back to work in moving into the desired place.
8. Regularly clean your Invisalign aligners (never use hot water)
When cleaning your aligners or retainers, you’ll want to avoid hot water. Hot water can cause them to melt, and when they melt, they won’t fit your teeth anymore!
To clean them, you’ll need to brush them with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You should also soak them in a denture cleaner or alcohol-free mouthwash
Certain mouthwashes can do more than just make your breath smell better – they can help prevent plaque buildup, gingivitis, and tooth decay if it includes fluoride.
The best mouthwashes prevent plaque and gingivitis. They can also help to freshen your breath. Some of the best mouthwashes are: Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Rinse, Listerine Antiseptic Mouthwash, and Act Anticavity Fluoride Rinse.
10. Use interdental brushes to get those hard-to-reach places
If you have braces and need more help brushing your teeth, interdental brushes are great. They are small brushes that you can gently push around your appliance to brush off any buildup.
Interdental brushes are flexible, small-headed brushes that fit between teeth. They are an effective way to remove plaque from teeth that are close together and difficult to floss. Interdental brushes come in different sizes to fit different sized gaps between teeth.