How to Teach Kids with Braces Dental Hygiene
So, your kid just got their braces. Hooray! But regardless of how exciting that might sound at first, be aware that some challenges lurk around the corner, especially in the terms of new dental hygiene requirements. For instance, some general recommendations, like the one from the American Dental Association say that we should brush for two minutes at least two times a day, differ if your child has braces. You may also need to resort to some teaching aids like kids’ dentist toys with braces to be able to thoroughly explain to them their new oral care routine. Fear not, as we’re going to give you a few actionable tips on how to make this transition to different oral care easier for everyone below.
Bracing the Braces
Opting for braces is a great way to improve the appearance not only of your kid’s smile but also their dental health in general. This orthodontic treatment is usually devised in a way to cater to every patient’s individual needs to yield the maximum result for them.
However, the road to the best possible version of one’s smile is not without its obstacles. For starters, a patient’s entire dental hygiene routine is bound to change, and some extra steps will have to be included in their otherwise established two-minutes-for-two-times-a-day brushing and once-a-day flossing routine. Namely, they’ll have to brush five times a day from now on, or after each meal (in addition to their morning and evening routine), and they will have to floss using a special technique. You will probably get all the necessary information on that from your pediatric dentist or orthodontist. Keep in mind that regular oral care is everything during an orthodontic treatment since your kid is more susceptible to cavities, gum irritation, and other forms of tooth decay. This happens because braces make some surfaces on teeth less accessible for brushing and flossing. This makes them perfectly suitable for plaque buildups, and these are precisely where germs and bacteria live and breed because they metabolize sugars from food and drinks we take. The by-product of that metabolic activity is acid, which erodes our enamel and causes cavities.
This isn’t to scare you away from braces. However, you must be entirely familiar with every single challenge that may occur so that you can better assist your child with their dental care and provide them with the best supervision possible.
Best Brushing and Flossing Techniques for Kids With Braces
While your dentist might recommend some of the specially-designed toothbrushes for braces, opting for a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush with a flat surface wouldn’t be a mistake either. Your child should use fluoride toothpaste with ADA seal of acceptance, as well as dental floss and floss threader. When they brush, they should do it at an angle over the top of their band and bracket, and they should do it back and forth. They should also brush back and forth under the bracket. The chewing surfaces of their teeth shouldn’t be neglected either, as well as the tongue, and gums. They should tend to their gums using gentle, circular motions.
When it comes to flossing, it’s pretty much the same as flossing without braces, except that they’re going to need a floss threader to be able to thread the floss under the archwire and between the teeth. If you believe that your child is having hard times with their oral care and hygiene even after a while, you can try using one of the kids’ dentist toys with braces to be able to better explain to them the right brushing and flossing techniques.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods can permanently damage your child’s braces and cause unnecessary inconveniences to you, including additional dental appointments and other related costs. To avoid that, you should make sure your child eats healthy and nutritionally balanced meals that exclude foods such as whole apples, hard candy, taffy, popcorn, corn on the cob, caramels, chewing gum, carrots, bagels, etc.
Braces are a long-term investment both in your kid’s smile and their dental health future. To make sure they enjoy the best possible results and draw the maximum from their treatment, you should encourage them to stick to their dental hygiene routine and follow all recommendations from their pediatric dentist or orthodontist. This includes refraining from certain foods, extending their brushing to five times a day, as well as flossing using a floss threader to make sure they can reach the spaces between their teeth efficiently. This is critical for helping them minimize the risk of cavities and gum irritation.
Has your child just started wearing braces? Does he or she struggle with their dental hygiene routine? What’s been the most challenging for them on their journey so far? Join the conversation in the comments below!