Braces help your child’s teeth, jaw, and bite come into alignment and can be an essential part of dental care. They also bring a significant lifestyle change, as they require daily maintenance.
By learning how to care for their braces every day, orthodontic care becomes another part of your child’s daily dental hygiene routine. Gina Gill, DMD, the pediatric orthodontist at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, explains the daily care your child should do to keep their teeth healthy and braces doing their job effectively.
Why is special care for braces so important?
When your child wears braces, they need to take a few extra steps to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Braces make it easier for food to remain trapped in their mouth, causing potentially dangerous bacteria to remain on your child’s teeth and gums.
Improper care of braces can lead to additional cavities, gingivitis, unsightly tooth staining, and permanent tooth damage. It can also lead to the braces themselves becoming damaged and orthodontic treatment taking longer or being less effective.
Taking daily care of braces
The good news is, with the right care, your child’s smile not only improves with braces, but their teeth also remain healthy and look better after the braces come off. Here’s what your child can do to take care of their braces every day.
Brush after every meal
Our providers normally recommend children brush their teeth twice per day, but when your child has braces, this should increase to after every meal. This is because plaque and food more easily get stuck under braces than in teeth without braces.
When your child brushes, they need to brush softly so as not to damage the braces. They should move the brush in a circular motion around the bracket to gently dislodge food from their braces.
Clean braces as part of brushing
When your child brushes, they should brush their braces as well as their teeth. This removes any extra plaque from their mouth and keeps their braces in top shape.
Your child can clean their braces by angling their brush toward the wires at a 45-degree angle. They should brush from the top to the bottom of each brace and wire as they move around the wire.
Use floss designed for braces
While your child has braces, they should still floss every day, but traditional floss won’t be able to clean below their wires. Instead, they need to use a special threader to work the floss between the tooth and gumline that’s below the wire.
Our team can help your child learn the proper flossing technique with braces.
Get a fluoride mouthwash
In addition to brushing and flossing, our team recommends your child use a special fluoride mouthwash every night after brushing. This mouthwash helps dislodge food and bacteria from the braces that brushing and flossing didn’t get.
Avoid certain foods
Certain foods can damage your child’s braces, so your child needs to avoid them until their braces come off. Foods to avoid with braces include:
- Gum and chewy, hard candy
- Hard snacks, like pretzels
As a general rule, your child should avoid food that is very hard, chewy, or sticky.
When your child cares well for their braces and teeth, they come out of their orthodontic treatment with healthy teeth and a stunning smile. For more information about braces and other orthodontic treatments, contact us.