Oral Hygiene Hacks for Kids with Braces

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graphic showing appropriate brushing technique for teeth with braces

It’s Children’s Dental Health Month – and if you have a child undergoing orthodontic treatment, now is an ideal time to make sure they have everything they need to stay healthy.

Children with braces require extra attention to make sure those teeth underneath the brackets and wires remain as healthy as possible, so at the end of their treatment, they’re left with a straight and healthy smile.

Talk to your child about ways to keep their braces debris-free and incorporate these tips and tricks into their oral hygiene routine at home, and at school.

Helping Your Child Stay Healthy at School

Time away from home spent at school can pose some challenges for kids with braces like:

  • Having to brush their teeth after snacks and lunch to dislodge any left behind foods
  • Keeping track of their retainers or Invisalign Teen trays once they take them out to eat
  • The need for an athletic mouth guard that will fit over braces for playing sports
  • Orthodontic appointments that are scheduled during school hours
  • An orthodontic emergency like a broken bracket or loose wire

Practicing good oral hygiene at school starts at home, by explaining to your child how important it is for them to take care of their braces and teeth all day long. Here are a few tips and tricks we love recommending to patients to make things easier:

Oral Hygiene Kit

Create a custom travel kit that includes a special toothbrush, interproximal brush, floss or floss pick, mouth rinse and orthodontic wax. Keep it all in a small and discrete container that helps make hygiene convenient.

Staying Hydrated

Water is full of health benefits, but one of the major ones is its ability to keep mouths clean by rinsing out major ebris and washing off acids that would otherwise be sitting on the teeth.

Chewing Sugarless Gum

Sugarless gum helps to remove plaque from the teeth. Look for a gum that contains Xylitol which helps neutralize acid in the mouth and increases the natural saliva.

Make Sure Your Child is Brushing Properly

As soon as those braces go on, the standard way you clean your teeth just doesn’t cut it anymore. Trying to clean around brackets and wires can make staying cavity free a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

With some slightly modified brushing and flossing techniques, and with the help from special tools made for braces, keeping both teeth and braces sparkling clean isn’t as daunting as it may seem.

How To Brush With Braces

  • Use a soft bristle or electric toothbrush for a full two minutes
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help prevent cavities
  • Place the tips of your toothbrush bristles flat against your teeth and use small, circular motions to clean them.
  • Tilt the brush toward the gum line to clean the areas between braces and the gums using the same circular motions
  • Use a back-and-forth motion when cleaning the surfaces of the teeth
  • Give extra attention to the areas between the wires, teeth, brackets and gums to make sure there aren’t any left behind food particles

Simpler Flossing for Kids with Braces

How To Floss With Braces

  • Floss at least once per day
  • Use a floss threader, which will help you reach around archwires
  • Feed one end of a piece of floss through the threader
  • Grab each end of the floss and slide it up and down on either side of each tooth
  • Pill the piece out and repeat in the next section between brackets and wires

Special Orthodontic Tools To Keep Teeth Clean

Today’s orthodontic treatments are accompanied by a lot of special tools to help keep teeth clean and work around brackets and wires. Ask us for these tools at your next orthodontist check-up to help make cleaning around your braces a little easier.

  • Electric Toothbrush
  • Interdental Toothbrush
  • Water Picks
  • Floss Threaders
  • Fluoride Rinse
  • Orthodontic Wax

Providing a Braces-Friendly Diet for Your Family

Keeping teeth cavity-free isn’t completely about how you brush and floss. Prevent cavities from all angles by eating from a braces-friendly diet with tips like:

  • Eating soft foods for post-appointment meals, but make sure they aren’t foods that easily get stuck in the braces.
  • Avoiding foods that require biting into that can pop brackets off
  • Eliminating sugary sweets and other non-friendly braces foods that get stuck in teeth.

If you’d like a few pointers on how to better take care of braces either at home, or at school, ask us for a personal recommendation on how you’re oral hygiene is measuring up at your next appointment!

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