Top tips for keeping a healthy smile for life
Maintaining good oral hygiene is always important, but it’s especially important during orthodontic treatment. Developing a few good habits will not only help prevent bad breath, but can also decrease the risk of health problems and ensure that you get the best results from your treatment. These tips will have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing in the long term, giving you a healthy smile for life.
Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is a fundamental part of your routine that’s important to keep up. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time.
When you are busy it can be easy to rush this part of your routine, but brushing your teeth is key to removing plaque. This sticky substance is the leading cause of problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on leftover bits of food left in your mouth. Left untreated, plaque build-up can lead to many oral health problems.
Unsure if you are brushing effectively? Try using disclosing tablets; these handy tablets contain a harmless dye that will make plaque more visible, so that you can identify which areas you may be missing when you brush.
Choose the right toothbrush
Choose a toothbrush with a smaller head. A toothbrush head that’s small enough to get to harder to reach areas, such as the back of your mouth, will help you clean your teeth more effectively. Some people find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, and studies have also shown that oscillating electric toothbrushes can be more effective in removing plaque from your teeth.
Don’t just focus on your teeth
Your gums and tongue are important too. Try to incorporate flossing or interdental brushes into your routine and clean the surface of your tongue with your toothbrush. Taking the time to thoroughly clean all areas is essential for good gum health, and will help prevent oral health problems such as gum disease. What’s more, it will also prevent the build-up of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath.
Visit your Dentist and Hygienist regularly
Regular check-ups with your Dentist are the best way to monitor your oral health. A thorough assessment and clean of your mouth at least once every 12 months will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Dentists don’t just pay attention to your teeth, they will also be checking your tongue, cheeks and lips for signs of oral cancer. As cases continue to rise, these check-ups significantly increase the likelihood of identifying and treating any issues early.
Regular visits to your dental Hygienist are key to preventing gum disease and tooth decay. They will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums with a scale and polish procedure; gently removing plaque and tartar build-up which can often lead to further problems.
Take steps to reduce your sugar intake
One of the fantastic features of Invisalign aligners is that they are removable, so you can still enjoy all of your favourite food and drinks during treatment. However, it’s still important to limit the intake of sugary food and drinks.
Sugar is broken down into acid by the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth. This acid then starts to break down tooth enamel, causing your teeth to be more exposed to acid which can erode your teeth. This erosion may lead to cavities, toothache and potentially tooth loss.
Although it’s important to limit levels of sugar, it’s how often you consume sugar, not how much, that causes tooth decay. It can take up to an hour for your mouth to cancel out the acid caused by eating and drinking sugar, so try to limit your intake to meal times.
Take extra care and attention during orthodontic treatment
It’s especially important to maintain a good routine when undergoing orthodontic treatment. The brackets and wires in treatments such as fixed braces allow for more gaps for food to hide, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay. Take special care to ensure that these brackets, and gaps between them, are cleaned thoroughly to get the best results from your treatment.
One of the features of Invisalign aligners is that they are removable. Among many other benefits, this can make it easier to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your treatment as they can be removed for brushing and flossing, particularly after eating. Be sure to clean your teeth and aligners thoroughly before putting them back in.
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