Oral care with braces
While wearing braces, your child should continue to take regular care of teeth—brushing often as directed by your orthodontist; flossing daily; and visiting your dentist regularly.
Generally, braces will not make a huge impact on your child’s usual dental care routine. It just takes a little extra time to make sure teeth are clean! The main concern is to keep braces clean and teeth free of plaque. If plaque is not removed, the end result could be cavities and permanently stained teeth.
Be sure your child maintains a balanced diet, which can provide essential nutrients to bones and tissues going through changes by the braces.
Your child’s dentist or orthodontist may tell your child to stay away from certain foods that may damage braces and bend the wires, such as ice, nuts, popcorn, and hard candies like peanut brittle. It may be helpful to cut hard foods such as apples, carrots, and hard bread into bite-sized pieces. Sticky, sugary foods like bubble gum can also harm braces. Talk to your child’s dentist and orthodontist.
Listed below are additional ways your child can care for teeth while wearing braces.
- Use helpful products. During treatment, your orthodontist may recommend products to help care for teeth and braces, such as special toothbrushes, rinses, and plaque disclosure tablets. New products are always being developed; so ask your orthodontist, your child’s dentist, or your child’s hygienist about the latest tooth care products on the market.
- Brush often. Your child should brush after every meal and before bed to remove plaque. Your orthodontist will give you specific brushing instructions, depending on the type of braces that your child has.
- Get new toothbrushes often. Braces will wear out a toothbrush; replace it often. A travel toothbrush may come in handy when your child is away from home.
- Rinse if you can’t brush. Your child should rinse mouth out with water if brushing is not possible.
- Floss often. Your child should floss at least once a day to remove food debris. Your orthodontist may recommend a special “threader” to help with flossing.
- Check teeth often. Your child should inspect teeth often with mirrors in a well-lighted room to make sure they are free of food debris and that braces are not damaged.