With an estimated 25 to 50 percent of children in need of orthodontic treatment, having braces is a common occurrence in childhood. Braces can move and straighten your children’s teeth for the perfect smile and lead to increased self-confidence. However, with braces comes a set of new challenges with maintaining dental care for kids.
Common Challenges with Braces
The addition of braces can make routine cleaning more difficult, limiting access to teeth and gums. Normal brushing and flossing can be difficult to achieve and plaque can build up easily. Plaque left untreated can lead to the onset of cavities and decay. Teaching your kids some simple, proper dental cleaning techniques can keep their teeth and gums, and braces happy and healthy.
5 Healthy Dental Practices for Every Kid with Braces
Tip 1: Brush After Every Meal
Brushing your children’s teeth regularly with braces is super important to remove food particles and keep plaque build-up at bay. Leaving teeth unbrushed between meals can lead to decay, cavities, and other serious tooth and gum problems. Having your children brush after each time they eat – including snacking – can reduce the risk of harmful plaque. If your child is unable to brush, using a mouthwash to loosen and rinse away food particles is a good option.
Tip 2: Brush and Floss Effectively
Learning to brush and floss effectively around your braces can be tricky. Brushing must be done over and under the brackets at an angle to reach the food particles and debris that has formed where the braces meet the teeth. Utilizing a mouthwash for your kid’s dental care routine can be helpful in rinsing away unwanted particles.
Since traditional flossing cannot work with braces, children must learn to thread the floss between the brackets of their braces to clean the areas between their teeth. It is especially important to thoroughly floss the areas near the gumline to maintain healthy gums.
Tip 3: Invest in a Kids Oral Irrigator
Since brushing and flossing can be extremely difficult to manage with braces, it can be helpful to invest in an oral irrigator to help clean your children’s teeth. This small appliance can provide a pressurized stream of water to help dislodge and remove food particles and plaque from gums, teeth, and brackets. Special oral irrigators for kids are safe for ages 6+ with the easy-to-use operation and limited water pressure and can be a great option for assisted cleaning throughout your children’s braces.
Tip 4: Avoid Harmful Foods
One of the best methods to protect your children’s teeth and braces is through prevention. When your children receive their braces, they will also receive a strict set of guidelines and food restrictions to avoid damaging the wires and brackets of their newly-installed braces. Typically these restrictions include avoiding certain crunchy foods such as nuts, popcorn, chips, and hard candies. Maintaining a smart diet with braces can avoid expensive repairs and oral injuries that can occur from broken wires and brackets.
Tip 5: Check Their Teeth Often
With so many wires and brackets coexisting in your child’s mouth, it’s important to regularly check for broken brackets, loose wires, or other problems that lead to discomfort or the need for repairs. Similarly, after brushing and flossing thoroughly, you should check your children’s teeth to make sure no stubborn food particles remain stuck within the teeth or braces. Being proactive in solving these common issues can prevent harmful injuries, plaque build-up, or the need for expensive dental repairs. If you do identify problems with your children’s braces, be sure to notify their orthodontist immediately to schedule an appointment.
Proper kids’ dental hygiene can be tricky to navigate with the presence of braces, but with a few simple tricks and a healthy dental care routine, your child can have a healthy, long-lasting smile in no time.