Some Hygiene Tips For Kids With Braces
Children and teenagers who are fitted with braces still need to have their regular, preventative dental care check-ups. Aside from their four-month cleaning and oral exams, it’s especially important that kids with braces also have good oral hygiene habits to keep cavities from developing and to avoid issues that can be caused by braces, such as gingivitis and the formation of plaque and tartar.
Have the Right Tools for Cleaning Teeth with Braces
In order to successfully keep their teeth sparkling and gums healthy, kids with braces should use a toothbrush with a small head of soft bristles so they can easily reach around the braces. The bristles should also have a flat brushing surface. Ask your dentist at Alabama Family Dentistry which particular toothbrush he recommends for keeping teeth clean while wearing braces.
Use a toothpaste with fluoride to help prevent cavities.
Keep dental floss and a floss threader on hand for getting bits of food out from between teeth and underneath braces.
How Often Should Your Child Brush?
For those who don’t have to wear hardware in their mouth, it’s recommended that brushing take place at least twice a day. But kids who wear braces really need to keep their teeth as clean as possible. They should brush their teeth and gums four or five times a day and for at least five minutes each time. It’s ideal to brush upon waking up, after each meal and snack, and before going to bed at night.
Be sure your child is brushing correctly. They will need to brush at an angle and over the top of the band and bracket to aim right at each tooth, then brush back and forth. Also ensure they brush up beneath the bracket and on the biting surfaces and backs of teeth. The tongue and gums should be brushed, also.
Lots of food items can easily get stuck in and under braces. Most orthodontists give children a list of food items they should stay away from during this time, such as corn on the cob, sticky candies, hard food items like large raw carrots, popcorn, and gum. Some kids, though, get food stuck in their teeth anyway. This is why flossing is so important, especially with orthodontic appliances. Flossing is performed pretty much the same way as anyone would, but the floss has to be threaded under the arch wire and between the teeth, and then it can be slid up and down to remove food pieces. This should be done for each tooth, every evening and more often if there is food felt between teeth.
Using a threader for the floss makes the job a bit easier; as does a water pick which can also be used to remove food particles. Regular flossing also helps keep plaque at bay.
Keep Up That Oral Hygiene
Keep on top of kids to brush, floss, and avoid certain foods to keep their braces in good shape and prevent oral disease. It will all be worth it when those braces are finally removed to reveal a straight, beautiful set of teeth.
The staff at Alabama Family Dentistry is available to help you with any questions you may have concerning oral care and orthodontic appliances. We have four convenient locations in Alabama from which to choose.