Helping Children Keep a Healthy Smile While in Braces
Caring for Teeth During Braces
Flossing with Braces for Children
Encouraging your child to floss can be a real challenge, especially when it sometimes feels hard enough getting them to brush sufficiently each day. Flossing is essential to maintaining good oral health and a beautifully white smile for people in braces at any age.
The wires and brackets associated with braces can be tricky to navigate around with standard dental floss, but flossing is still very important in caring for teeth and gums. Flossing reaches the parts of the teeth the toothbrush cannot access. This way, the dental floss can remove any food particles that may be stuck between each of the teeth.
It’s well known that creating a good habit and routine of brushing and flossing at a very young age with your children will prevent plaque build-up, cavities, and other oral health issues later in life.
Since flossing in between teeth might pose a challenge for children and teens, there are some flossing tools that have been developed to simplify this daily requirement for those wearing braces. Floss threaders are great options to get the floss between the wires with ease. Floss threaders are disposable, and we provide these to each of our patients. They are also available in any store that carries other dental care products like toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Floss that is coated with wax can make it easier to reach in between teeth. Floss that is not coated with wax tends to be flimsy and too thin for children. Wax floss is more durable and can be used with the floss threader to get every nook and cranny of the teeth and gums, although some adults prefer floss without wax.
Helping Children Floss Properly
During orthodontic treatment, parents or caretakers play an integral role with their child in braces. In younger children, brushing should be guided by the parent to ensure proper technique and that cleaning takes place two to three times per day.
Parents are also advised to do the flossing for younger children. Most small children do not understand how to properly floss their teeth, and areas with wires and brackets need careful attention.
Some children may not be capable of holding the floss and threading it through the teeth and wires. This is another reason a parent should be involved with the daily flossing routine.
Water flossers have become popular recently, and these are helpful devices to flush food and debris out from around the teeth and braces. While a Waterpik is a great addition and a good idea to be used regularly, it should not replace or eliminate traditional flossing.
If you have questions or concerns regarding flossing or any part of braces treatment for your child, please give Burke & Redford Orthodontists a call at (951) 699-8011. We will be happy to assist you at our offices in Temecula and Lake Elsinore.
Proper Care of Braces
When led by example, it will be easy for your child to see how to care for their braces correctly. Even though our doctors and staff teach children the best practices for cleaning their teeth with braces, having a parent assist them at home will emphasize the right way to clean. Receiving praise for a job well done is a good way to positively reinforce a kid’s good behavior, too.
Below are some of the important ways in which children should care for their braces. These methods will also work to enhance the beautiful smile seen both during and at the end of their orthodontic treatment.
There are certain foods that need to be avoided while wearing braces. Parents should help remind their children to stay away from sticky or gooey candies and sweets. Chewy substances get stuck in between brackets and can dislodge the wire from the braces. Hard food should also be avoided, due to the fact it can break off brackets and damage teeth. Soft, easy-to-chew foods are recommended instead.
If a child wearing braces frequently plays sports, parents need to make sure the child wears a mouth guard to protect their teeth, gums and braces. An unexpected fall or blow to the face could damage the lips, cheeks, or teeth.
- General Dentist Visits
It is critical that you keep general dental checkups during the time braces are in place. It is not a bad idea to consider an even tighter recall schedule, especially for children who may struggle maintaining adequate oral hygiene.
- Orthodontist Visits
Once braces treatment has started, the child will be scheduled approximately every eight weeks to come back for check-ups. Parents should make every effort to bring their child to each scheduled appointment. These appointments are important to make sure proper progress is being made as treatment goes along.
Additionally, any issues that may come up regarding treatment should be brought to the immediate attention of the orthodontist.
Dr. Redford, Dr. Burke, and their team are available to answer any questions or concerns regarding any step of braces treatment. Patient care and comfort is their top priority.
Caring for Teeth After Getting Braces Off
Once the braces are removed and the great new smile is revealed, many assume the care stops there. This assumption is inaccurate. A beautiful, new smile is the long-awaited reward that can be kept pristine and healthy through various ways, post-braces.
- One of the first ways of caring for teeth after braces are removed is to keep up on teeth cleanings and check-ups. Parents should continue taking their children to the primary care dentist for routine cleanings twice per year. This will keep oral health in good condition.
- Teeth will not stay pearly white for long if consistent brushing and flossing habits are not developed. Once braces come off, these two actions become significantly easier. Parents should continue to encourage their child to brush and floss at least twice daily.
How to Keep Teeth Beautiful with Retainers
Undoubtedly, one of the most important steps in keeping post-braces teeth straight and beautiful are retainers. Retainers come in several different options and are made from an impression of the child’s teeth on the day they finish treatment. Whether it is a removable or fixed type of retainer, your child’s new smile can be preserved and kept in the same position as it was the moment their braces were removed.
Although retainers may feel unusual at first, patients adapt quickly and will be totally comfortable after the first week or so. Retainers that can be taken in and out should be worn consistently at night (while sleeping) for the teeth to remain stable long-term.
Even missing one night of wearing retainers can allow teeth to move. Patients should be diligent in wearing their retainer nightly. In addition, if a retainer is broken, lost, damaged, or ill-fitting, visit the orthodontist as soon as possible for a repair or replacement. Orthodontic treatment was an investment in your child’s oral health and future, and we want to make sure it stays beautiful for a lifetime.
Fixed (permanent) retainers are another retainer option and are highly recommended in most cases. These are the best retainers for holding teeth straight and require minimal cooperation.
If you have any further questions or concerns about what to expect with your child in braces or the best braces aftercare, please do not hesitate to reach Burke & Redford Orthodontists at (951) 699-8011. We offer a free braces consultation, which can be scheduled over the phone or directly on our website.