When most people think of October, images of trees with beautiful orange and yellow leaves come to mind, or maybe they become excited about all the festivities that surround Halloween. But, it is also National Orthodontic Health Month, a time when dental professionals, teachers, and parents take a little extra time to share important information about this specific type of dentistry. If you have a child in braces (or who is about to start), or you’re currently using Invisalign yourself, here are a few helpful tips that will make the journey toward a straight and beautiful smile as smooth as possible.
Keep Brushing & Flossing
One big issue that orthodontists run into all the time is that once a patient begins braces or Invisalign, they stop brushing and flossing their teeth as often. This can happen because oral hygiene becomes a little more complicated when orthodontics are involved, or some believe their teeth are protected from decay because they are covered by their appliance. In truth, orthodontic patients should be more diligent when it comes to daily oral hygiene, as brackets, wires, and aligner trays can often trap food particles against the teeth and increase the risk of cavities.
Maintain Progress Appointments
After someone starts orthodontic treatment, they’ll be asked to visit their orthodontist periodically so the doctor can make sure their teeth are shifting as planned. If an adjustment needs to be made, it can be applied before someone’s treatment is way off track. The frequency of these appointments can vary from patient to patient depending on the treatment they’re using, but their importance can not be understated. Periodic check-ins are extremely vital to the orthodontic process, which is why most orthodontists recommend scheduling the next one each time you come into the office.
Start Using Mouthwash
Brushing and flossing with Invisalign is pretty simple, but the same cannot be said for braces. Especially for children, trying to navigate between tight brackets and wires can be quite the challenge, which is why most orthodontists recommend that their patients integrate a fluoridated mouthwash into their routine. This enables someone to easily clean those hard to reach areas while also making their enamel stronger. There are many varieties available at the store, but ideally, a patient should use an alcohol-free mouthwash, as these don’t dry out the mouth (which reduces the chance of decay even more).
The best thing about these tips is that they don’t just apply during National Orthodontic Health Month…they’re great all year! By keeping them in mind, an orthodontic patient will ensure their treatment flies by, and before they know it, they’ll be looking at a perfectly straight and healthy smile in the mirror.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist who has earned multiple awards for the quality of his care and service. At his practice, Shirck Orthodontics, he and his team provide a wide variety of treatments that can help both children and adults fix common problems and achieve the smiles of their dreams. If your child could benefit from braces, or if you’re interested in straightening your own teeth, you can schedule a FREE in-person consultation by clicking here.