How to care for your smile from home

The team here at Sunshine Smiles provides a full range of dental and orthodontic services to give you the healthiest smile possible. There’s a lot we can do to straighten your teeth and improve your oral health, but we can’t do everything (much as we’d like to!) What happens in between your visits with our expert team is almost as important as what goes on when you’re here. When you follow the guidelines you’ve been given and take good care of your smile at home, it helps us achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. On the flip side, ignoring our advice and neglecting your oral hygiene can negatively affect your progress, leading to longer treatment times and possibly impacting your final results. With that in mind, let’s look at how you can successfully care for your teeth and gums from the comfort of home!

Brush up on your brushing and flossing skills

Oral hygiene is important for everyone, but especially orthodontic patients. You are more prone to dental issues like cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease during treatment. This can interrupt or delay your treatment plan, so it’s essential that you maintain an excellent brushing and flossing 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 removed, plaque and bacteria can build up and cause problems. To get the most out of your dental hygiene routine, stick to these basic guidelines!

•    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.

We like our orthodontic patients to brush 3-4 times daily or after every meal and snack. If you’re unable to brush immediately after eating, try swishing some water around in your mouth to loosen any food particles and help freshen your mouth.

Caring for your smile (and your clear aligners!)

Oral hygiene may be easier with a clear aligner system like Invisalign, but there are still some fundamentals you need to pay attention to. That begins with basic 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 to keep them clean and free of bacteria.

Continue to schedule regular visits with your dentist

Follow-up visits are an essential part of any orthodontic treatment plan. 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. Since we offer a full range of dental services along with orthodontic care, our practice has the best of both worlds under one roof! You’ll find everything you need for a healthy smile in our three conveniently located offices in Kingston, Rhinebeck, and New Paltz

Create a “care kit” for when you’re on the go

It’s not uncommon to encounter minor orthodontic “emergencies” from time to time. As normal as these are, they can still be frustrating if they happen while you’re out and about! Stay prepared for any potential 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—voila! You’re ready for almost anything! Remember, though, that you should always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency. We can assess the situation and let you know what your next steps should be.

Boost your oral health with help from Sunshine Smiles

Good oral hygiene is for everybody, not just orthodontic patients! 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. Mansour and our expert team. We’re here to keep your smile as healthy and happy as possible!