Doctor educating patient on orthodontics

National Orthodontic Health Month | Caring For Your Smile

When you think of October, costumes, pumpkins and candy might come to mind. But October is about more than just Halloween – it's also National Orthodontic Health month, a time to celebrate healthy smiles and the treatments that help them get and stay healthy. This October, take some time to learn more about what you can do to get a healthier smile and teeth you can be proud to show off. 

Consider Orthodontic Treatment 

If you haven't yet started orthodontic treatment, make October the month you schedule a visit to an orthodontist. During your first visit, your orthodontist will review treatment options with you and let you know what you can expect. Remember, orthodontics can be for everyone, from young children through adults. If you've been on the fence about getting braces or Invisalign®, a visit to an orthodontist can help you make a decision. 

Practice Good Oral Hygiene and Braces Hygiene

The secret to a great smile is great oral hygiene. Hygiene becomes incredibly important when you have braces, as it's easy for some foods to get stuck in the braces. The better care you take of your teeth and braces, the more effective your orthodontic treatment will be. 

At home, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss every day. When you brush, do so for at least two minutes. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, as that will help protect your teeth from cavities. The flavor you use is entirely up to you. 

Flossing can be tricky with braces, so if you're having trouble with it, talk to your orthodontist. They can show you how to floss correctly or can recommend alternatives, such as interdental brushes or floss threaders. 

Along with taking care of your teeth and gums at home, schedule regular appointments with your family dentist for cleanings and exams. If you have braces already, you'll want to keep following up with your orthodontist. 

How to Care for Your Braces

Braces straighten your smile, so you can feel more confident and enjoy the benefits of an aligned bite and teeth. It's important to take good care of your braces, so they can do their job effectively. 

Along with brushing your teeth at least twice a day, clean your braces daily. Remove the elastics when you brush to avoid breaking them. When cleaning your braces, pay close attention to the area between the brackets and gums. You may want to use a small brush to clear away any food bits that get stuck there. Using a floss threader or interdental brush is often easier with braces than trying to work a piece of floss between your teeth and the brackets.

Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash after cleaning your teeth, gums and braces helps to strengthen your teeth, freshen your breath and ensure that any food bits get washed away. 

How to Care for Your Invisalign®

You may have opted for Invisalign® for your orthodontic treatment. Cleaning Invisalign® aligners is a key part of the treatment's success. Even though you replace the aligners every few weeks during treatment, they still need daily cleaning when you're wearing them. Bacteria can build up on the aligners, leading to bad breath and tooth decay. 

To clean Invisalign® aligners, remove them from your mouth. Give them a rinse with warm water. Next, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear, unscented dish soap to wash the aligners. Brush the aligners gently to remove any food bits or other debris. 

Then, rinse them off with warm water and dry them before putting them back into your mouth. Remember to brush your teeth first before wearing your aligners again.

To keep your aligners in the best condition, take them out before eating or drinking anything.   

Pay Attention to What You Eat

Your diet plays a big role in your life. The healthier your diet, the better you feel. Your diet also affects your oral health. Sugary, sticky foods increase your risk for gum disease and cavities. If you have braces, those foods can get stuck in the wires and brackets. 

This October, try to avoid foods bad for teeth, like candy and soda. Instead, focus on eating foods that help improve your oral health and overall health, such as:

  • Cheese and low-fat dairy
  • Apples
  • Crunchy vegetables, like carrots

If you love soda or other sugary drinks, try switching out at least one sugary drink a day with a glass of water. Water has no calories and no sugar. Plus, if you drink certain types of water, it has added minerals, like fluoride, that help protect your teeth.  

Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month at Brentwood Orthodontics

Starling Orthodontics in Brentwood, TN wants to give you your smile, your way! If you're considering braces for yourself or your child or want more advice on what you can do to improve your smile, we're here for you. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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