Dental cavities are still the most common chronic disease among children ages six to 19. Helping families understand the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene from a baby’s first tooth well into the teen years and beyond. Keeping your children’s teeth clean and free from plaque is always essential, but it’s even more critical while they’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Because it’s harder to keep teeth clean with braces, you’ll need to ensure they’re putting in an extra effort to prevent cavities while wearing them.
Doing your part in keeping your children’s teeth healthy will save you time and money on restorative dentistry treatments and help prevent your kids from developing dental anxiety.
Healthy Teeth and Gums Require Great Home Care
Prevention is always the name of the game when it comes to tooth decay. Avoiding cavities in the first place will ensure your child finishes their orthodontic treatment plan with a healthy, beautiful smile and not one filled with cavities and stained teeth. Here are our top recommendations for how to give your teen’s oral health a boost while wearing braces.
Never Skip Dental Cleanings and Exams
The most important thing you can do to help keep your teen’s teeth in great shape with braces is to have routine visits to the dentist at least twice a year. This general rule applies to everyone in your family over the age of one. Routine visits to the dentist for exams and regular cleanings will be less costly to families in the long run because preventative visits help to ensure a lifetime of good oral hygiene. When your dentist can treat minor problems like tooth decay before it turns into a cavity, it will save you time and money. Additionally, it will also help decrease any potential dental anxiety your little one may develop from having to have extensive dental work done to fix multiple cavities that went left untreated.
Fuel Your Family With Super Foods
Fueling your family with a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and braces-friendly foods will help to promote healthy teeth with less tooth decay. Because sugar found in foods is the main culprit behind plaque-causing bacteria that leads to tooth decay, maintaining a balanced diet is a healthy and easy way to give your family’s teeth an extra boost. Keeping your kids (and yourself) hydrated with plenty of water will also help rinse bacteria from the teeth. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the food is healthy for the rest of your body, it’s probably healthy for your mouth and teeth too.
Brush As a Family To Encourage Healthy Habits
Brushing teeth after every meal and at least twice a day is still the best way to prevent tooth decay in both children and adults. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth after eating or drinking foods containing sugars. That same bacteria then produce harmful acids that attack the tooth enamel causing it to wear down and creates cavities and tooth decay.
Teach your kids the importance of brushing their teeth properly with these helpful tips:
- Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush regardless of age.
- Brush for at least two minutes – make it a fun two minutes by playing a song while brushing.
- Use fluoride toothpaste for children over six and supervise them to ensure they do not swallow any toothpaste.
- Help your kids floss their teeth once a day.
- Supervising children while brushing to ensure they are brushing for long enough to reach all surfaces of their teeth, so their entire mouth is adequately cleaned.
Take Tooth Alignment Seriously
Orthodontic issues like teeth that are overcrowded, crooked, gapped, or teeth with an overbite or crossbite can cause many patients to develop a variety of dental issues. Suppose your child’s dentist has noticed that their shifting or crooked teeth are causing more cavities, or their bite and chewing abilities are affected by misalignment. In that case, it’s recommended to correct these oral health problems.
Health benefits of straight teeth include:
- Fewer cavities
- Reduced risk of gum disease
- Less wear and tear on tooth enamel
- Alleviated headaches and pain from TMJ
- An improvement in overall health
For more information on how to keep your family’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, ask Thomas Orthodontics for some recommendations at your child’s next checkup.