How To Take Care Of Your Smile At Home

Here at Johnson Family Orthodontics, we’re 100% committed to giving every patient beautifully straight teeth to match their unique smile…which matches their face…which matches their personality…and so on! Orthodontic treatment is an enormous investment in yourself, one that will pay off for years to come. Our team is here to walk you through the treatment process each step of the way, but we can’t do everything for you, much as we’d like to. While our world-class care and state-of-the-art technology can help you achieve a healthier smile, there’s another necessary ingredient for success—you! 

If you’re looking for the best and most stable results (and who isn’t?) patient compliance is non-negotiable. When you follow Dr. Johnson’s guidelines and take good care of your smile at home, it will help us give you an exceptional smile in the shortest amount of time possible. On the flip side, non-compliance can negatively affect your progress and lead to longer treatment times. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can keep your teeth and gums in great shape throughout your orthodontic journey! Keep reading to learn more. 

Show your oral hygiene routine some TLC

Orthodontic patients are more prone to dental issues like cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. This can interrupt or delay your treatment plan and even impact your final results. That’s why it’s so important to maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine! This can take a little extra effort if you’re wearing braces, since the brackets and wires make it easy for food particles to get trapped against the teeth. If these aren’t brushed or flossed away, plaque and bacteria can build up and cause problems. To get the most out of brushing and flossing, stick to guidelines like these!

  • Brush after every meal and snack. If you wear braces, be sure to brush around each part of them.
  • If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and any debris.
  • Floss every night before bed to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • 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.

Ideally, we like to see patients brushing 3-4 times daily or after every meal and snack. If you’re unable to brush immediately after eating, swish some water around in your mouth to help loosen any rogue food particles and freshen your mouth. 

The ABCs of Invisalign care

Oral hygiene may be easier with an aligner system like Invisalign, but there are still some basics you need to be aware of. That begins with hygiene: remember to always wash your hands before taking aligners out and putting them back in your mouth. Rinse your aligner any time you remove it and use a cleaning solution with lukewarm water at least twice a day. If you notice any build-up, you can soak your aligners in a retainer or denture cleaner to remove it.

Be aware that extreme temperatures of any kind can warp your aligners and cause them to lose their natural shape. Don’t ever leave your Invisalign aligners in a hot car, and be sure to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing and cleaning them. You should also be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth. If you aren’t wearing them, store them safely in an approved case. This will keep them clean and free of bacteria. 

Schedule regular visits with your dentist

Follow-up visits with Dr. Johnson are an essential part of the treatment process.  But did you know regular appointments with your dentist are also important during this time? Although you’re under our care while we straighten your smile, your dentist is still your primary oral health physician. That means they’re responsible for helping you maintain healthy teeth and gums, identifying any potential issues, and keeping your mouth healthy before, during, and after orthodontic treatment. We encourage our patients to see their dentist once every six months. 

Create an on-the-go “care kit”

It’s not uncommon to encounter minor orthodontic “emergencies” from time to time. They can be frustrating if they happen while you’re out and about, though!  Stay prepared for any issues by creating a “care kit” to keep with you when you’re on the go. Consider packing it with essential items like:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss or ortho picks
  • orthodontic wax
  • extra rubber bands
  • lip balm
  • a small cup for rinsing with water
  • an unsharpened pencil (you can use the eraser end to push stray wires back into place)

Throw them all together in a portable bag, then pop it in your purse or backpack for safekeeping. This way, you’ll have everything you need for any problems that might pop up in between appointments! Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, however. Dr. Johnson will assess the situation and let you know your next steps.  

Keep your smile looking its best with Johnson Family Orthodontics

Good oral hygiene isn’t just for orthodontic patients. We should all be striving for a healthy smile! It does take on some extra importance when you’re in braces or clear aligners, though. Hopefully, the tips and hints we’ve listed above will help you keep your smile in excellent shape while we work to straighten it! 

Do you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic care? Would you like to learn more about how you can improve your oral health? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Johnson. We’re here to keep your smile looking and feeling fantastic!