Braces are an investment in your child’s future smile, so keeping their teeth clean and in good shape is essential.
Brushing teeth with braces isn’t too different than brushing without braces. But maintaining clean teeth with braces is just a bit more time consuming and involves the help of some other tools.
As a parent, you may find it a little frustrating if you have to continually remind your child to brush their teeth and to do it correctly. However, braces are an investment in your child’s future smile, and like any other important investment, it’s wise to help them keep their teeth and braces clean.
When to Brush with Braces
There are a couple of essential times your child should be brushing their teeth if they have braces. First, they should brush their teeth in the morning, after they wake up, and at night, before going to bed.
Second, they should brush their teeth after every meal. However, the problem with brushing after every meal is that it can be impractical. If your child is at school, they may not be able to find a good place to brush, or they may not have a toothbrush with them all the time.
One suggestion that can help is for them to rinse their mouth out with water right after eating so they can rinse away any particles, sugars, and starches that could lead to plaque buildup. This is often a more practical solution if brushing isn’t possible.
How to Brush Teeth with Braces
Having the right kind of toothbrush goes a long way in helping a child brush their teeth effectively. An orthodontist will typically recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush or power toothbrush. They must brush their teeth thoroughly and be sure not to rush through a cleaning. Some good points to keep in mind include:
- Brush each side of every tooth
- Brush around all parts of the brackets
- Brush along the tongue, gumline, and roof of the mouth
The amount of time spent brushing is essential too. To get all of the above areas thoroughly cleaned, a child should brush for a full two minutes. Playing a song in the background can be helpful. Also, some toothbrushes have a built-in timer and will signal when two minutes is up.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing can be challenging with braces, but it’s important to floss at least twice a day because particles of food and plaque can easily get stuck in between the teeth. An oral irrigator, or a water flosser, is a useful tool that works just as well as traditional floss. Another way to floss is by using a reusable floss-threader along with regular dental floss.
Have a Tooth-Friendly Diet
No matter how much your child brushes and flosses their teeth, eating the right foods, and staying away from the wrong ones, goes a long way in keeping their teeth healthy while they have braces. Sugary food and drinks can increase the likelihood of your child developing cavities. Acidic food and drinks can damage tooth enamel. Foods high in starch can stick to the teeth for long periods and cause tooth decay.
It’s important to be aware of the foods that can damage enamel and lead to tooth decay so that your child doesn’t have stains on their teeth when their braces come off.
If your child has braces, discuss these things with them. If they are struggling to do it right, find a solution to at least one of the issues. Many of these things take time to put into regular practice, so don’t give up!
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