If your child has orthodontic braces or will be getting braces, you are probably already looking ahead to that straighter smile. And not only that, your child will experience so many more benefits as a result of their braces treatment, including more ease when brushing and flossing, less risk of tooth decay and gum disease, improved speech and digestion, and so much more.
But while there is so much to look forward to, parents of kids with braces often have questions about how their child can take the best care of their teeth while those braces are on. After all, protecting your child’s teeth and ensuring they know how to brush teeth while wearing braces will help them experience all those benefits after their orthodontic treatment.
How to help your child care for their teeth while they’re wearing braces.
As parents, we know the importance of good oral hygiene. When we take good care of our teeth and gums, we are at less risk for tooth decay and cavities down the road. But caring for teeth when braces are on is a bit trickier to manage. So, we’ve put together some helpful tips for you and your child on how to brush teeth while wearing braces and maximize their orthodontic treatment.
Here are 6 helpful tips that you and your child need to know.
1. Help your child find the right toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash.
Be sure to ask your dentist in Waldorf or Prince Frederick, MD, about the best type of toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash to help eliminate bacteria that lead to cavities and gum disease. Getting a recommendation from your kids’ dentist can help ensure you do not use an abrasive product with harsh ingredients that can damage your child’s metal braces. Next, help your child to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time using a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss once per day before bed, and rinse away all that bacteria with fluoride mouthwash at least once a day.
2. Use this technique to brush teeth with braces.
Show your child how to brush their teeth at the gum line above and below the braces brackets. Have them brush along the gum line first while holding their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Next, they should clean their brackets by brushing at a downward angle on top of the brackets. Finally, brush at an upward angle at the bottom of the brackets.
3. Use an oral irrigator to help remove food particles from the teeth and between braces.
An oral irrigator, such as a Waterpik, can help remove more plaque and food particles than brushing and flossing alone. It can be hard to get between those metal brackets, but an oral irrigator can get at those tricky spaces a bit easier by spraying water to remove food particles between the teeth. Ask your kids’ dentist for advice on the best oral irrigator, and follow their recommendations on the cadence and frequency by which to use the device—once a week might be all it takes.
4. Pay attention to what your child is eating.
Unfortunately, there are some dietary restrictions when it comes to metal braces. Thankfully, many of these restrictions actually lead to a healthier diet. During braces treatment, your child will need to avoid the following food items:
- Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts.
- Sticky candies, such as candy bars and caramels.
- Crunchy vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and celery.
- Whole raw fruit like apples and pears.
- Corn chips and other crunchy snacks.
- Chewy meat, such as steak and pork chops.
- Peanut butter.
5. Use an ice pack treatment after their braces are tightened.
A critical part of orthodontic treatment with metal braces includes bracket tightening. Dentists and orthodontists change the pressure of the braces on the teeth throughout the course of the treatment period to help guide the teeth into the ideal position. When the braces are first put on, there is a lot of pressure on the teeth. However, that pressure dissipates over time and to keep the pressure maintained, the brackets and wires need to be tightened. Unfortunately, this can be an uncomfortable experience for some kids. If it is uncomfortable for your child, try applying an ice pack or giving them over-the-counter pain medication. No matter what, do not skip out on those tightening treatments as it can elongate the period of time in which your child will need to wear their braces.
6. Ensure you keep your regular visits to the dentist while your child has braces.
You and your kids must visit the dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination. And it is no different when your child has braces. A good professional dental cleaning is more important than ever when your child has braces because your dentist can get to places that you and your child simply cannot.
Not only that, but your child’s dentist can ensure that your child is brushing and flossing properly. Bacteria, food particles, and plaque gather around the braces brackets. If that bacteria is not properly removed from brushing and flossing, usually assisted by a professional cleaning, it can demineralize the enamel around the bracket and form cavities.
We Make Kids Smile can help your child learn how to brush teeth while wearing braces.
If your child has braces and is struggling with the proper brushing techniques or is just in need of a good professional cleaning, why not request an appointment with We Make Kids Smile in Waldorf or Prince Frederick, MD? We can not only help your child learn how to brush their teeth while wearing braces, but we can offer some helpful tips on how to make their braces treatment as effective as possible. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon.