A good dental hygiene routine is important, but it is even more important when you have braces. If your child has braces, there are certain things they should be doing to make sure their teeth stay healthy during their treatment and after the braces come off.
If your child does not have braces yet, and you are anticipating their need for them, make sure that you brush up on the facts about dental braces for kids first. There may be some factors you need to consider before jumping on the braces-train.
The prospect of teaching your child to care for their teeth with braces can seem intimidating at first, but after they get the hang of it, it becomes like any other routine. Just like they did before they had braces, the same rules apply: floss, brush, and rinse. But with braces, there is a bit of extra diligence required.
How to floss and brush with braces
There are a couple of more things to be aware of when flossing and brushing with braces. After getting braces, your orthodontist or dentist will likely send you home with some flexible floss threaders. These will allow your child to thread the floss under the braces wire and then floss their teeth like normal. They will continue to do this for each tooth.
When brushing, have your child brush as they have done before. However, they will also need to brush above the brackets, and below them. This is a simple added step, and will allow the braces to stay clean and particle-free.
You will also go home with what is called a proxabrush, but they can also be purchase from a variety of stores. This is a little bristled brush that is designed to get in between all the nooks and crannies of your child’s braces, to make sure no food particles are left behind.
Foods to avoid with braces
Eating is one of the things that becomes a bit more complicated with braces, as some of them can actually damage braces. And since dental hygiene is so much more important with braces, these foods can actually cause a greater amount of damage to your child’s teeth. Here are some foods to watch out for with braces.
Do not eat:
- Any chewy, gooey, sticky, or hard candy – sorry.
- Extra sticky or crunchy peanut butter – perhaps it’s a good time to switch to smooth.
Be really careful when you’re eating any of these foods:
- Chewy bread (like bagels) – tear into small pieces and chew in the back of the mouth
- Chips – carefully and one at a time
- Corn on the cob – take the kernels off the cob
- Apples and carrots – cut into small pieces
- Soda and sugary drinks – just like before your child had braces
And now is a good time to help your child break those habits of chewing on ice, fingernails, pencils, or pens.
Sports and braces
Don’t worry—your child’s chances of getting hit in the mouth do not go up just because they have braces. However, it is a risk, as it is for everyone who plays and does not have braces. Mouth guards are recommended even without braces, but there are mouth guards specifically designed for braces, and we would certainly recommend that you get one. It will not only protect the braces, but will also protect your child’s mouth as a whole.
Even though it may seem like there is a lot more to remember when it comes to dealing with oral hygiene and braces, know that it becomes routine once you and your child get used to it. And know that this will only be a small portion of your lives. There will be an end to it, and neither of you have to be miserable in the process. We are here for you if you have any questions, or want to know if your child needs a corrective dental treatment like braces. Simply contact us with your questions or to set up an appointment.