While maintaining good oral hygiene is always important, it can be especially imperative with braces. Caring for braces is more time consuming and can be difficult for some children, but it is essential to your child’s oral health throughout orthodontic treatment. It can be a challenge for your child to care for braces, but with these 4 tips and your encouragement, they have all the tools they need!
Brush After Every Meal and Floss Once a Day
Braces can be a magnet for food particles and the buildup of plaque, which is why we recommend brushing after every meal. Be gentle with brushing to avoid damage to the wires and brackets. If your child doesn’t have access to a toothbrush after mealtime, encourage them to at least rinse out their mouth after eating to help loosen and remove food particles.
Flossing is recommended at least once a day to keep pieces of food from sticking to the brackets and in-between teeth, remove plaque buildup, and prevent gum disease.
Use the Right Tools
- For Brushing: An electric toothbrush can be the most effective and easy to use for children. Electric toothbrushes have multiple modes, typically including a gentle mode, recommended for young users with braces. Some electric toothbrushes will have a 2-minute timer, helping encourage your child to brush for the proper amount of time.
- For Flossing: It can be difficult to floss normally with braces; brackets and wires can make it difficult to reach in between teeth. Using a floss threader can help your child thread floss through their braces, allowing them to reach those difficult areas.
- A water pick can also be used to remove food particles from teeth using a stream of water. While a water pick should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing, it can aid in the reduction of bacteria.
Avoid Certain Foods
Avoid hard and chewy sugary treats like fruit snacks, taffy candy, and caramel. Opt for chocolate as a sweet substitute as it is soft and dissolves quickly without sticking to your child’s braces. Other crunchy and sticky foods, such as popcorn, corn chips, gum, and some nuts should also be avoided to protect your child’s braces.
Visit Your Pediatric Dentist Regularly
Along with your regular visits to the orthodontist, routine dental exams are another essential step in caring for your child’s braces. Your dentist will work with your orthodontist to keep your child’s teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment.
Pediatric dentists are experts on helping kids care for braces. At Jenkins & LeBlanc, we can help guide you and your child through caring for your child’s dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment. Our board-certified pediatric dentists and registered dental hygienists can help address you and your child’s oral hygiene concerns and educate your child on proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Ready to schedule a routine cleaning and checkup? Request an appointment here.