Many kids and teenagers wear dental braces to correct overcrowded or crooked teeth. The benefits of orthodontics are considerable as straighter teeth result in a healthier and more attractive smile and ensure the teeth are able to function correctly by biting together properly. Fixed dental braces may need to be worn for quite some time for treatment to be completed and it’s vital that your child practices good oral hygiene during this period.
Why Is Good Oral Hygiene so Important While Wearing Dental Braces?
While good oral hygiene is important at any time, wearing dental braces increases the chances of food and plaque becoming trapped in between brackets and wires. Unless plaque and food debris is thoroughly removed, it can soon cause tooth decay or will leave permanent stains on tooth enamel. One of the problems is the reaction between bacteria in the mouth and food debris that can produce a bleaching effect on teeth, causing small but permanent light spots on the teeth. Ensuring teeth are kept free from debris will also protect gum health.
What Is the Best Way to Look After Dental Braces?
Ideally, your kid should brush their teeth after every meal. There are lots of different things they can use to clean in between the brackets and wires such as special orthodontic floss or floss threaders that are designed to fit in between and into very small spaces. Encourage your child to get into the habit of checking their teeth in the mirror once they have finished cleaning them to make sure all visible food particles are gone. Rinsing their mouth with clean water or with mouthwash will help remove any loose debris. You can help by making sure your kid always has a toothbrush and other appropriate equipment with them to help keep their dental braces clean while away from home. If they can’t brush after a meal, making sure they have a small bottle of water with them will help them to at least rinse out their mouth.
What About Any Discomfort Caused by Dental Braces?
Wearing dental braces can cause some discomfort to your child, particularly as the wires used to move teeth are usually tightened at every visit to their pediatric dentist or orthodontist. These adjustments can place increased pressure on the teeth, causing discomfort until the teeth settle down once more. At this time it may help if your child chooses soft foods that are easy to chew and they may need to take an over-the-counter pain reliever that is age appropriate. Sometimes the wires or brackets used on dental braces can rub on the cheeks. If this is the case, simply cover up the offending parts of the brace with special orthodontic wax that can be supplied by your orthodontist or pediatric dentist and which will protect their mouth against this discomfort.
Should They Avoid Any Foods?
If they wear fixed braces then yes as particularly sticky or hard foods could break the brackets or wires. While it’s possible to get dental braces repaired, the delay in doing so could increase the length of treatment time. In addition, very sticky foods are quite difficult to clean from dental braces and there is the risk of hard foods like nuts or seeds becoming trapped in between the brackets and wires.
Fixed braces do require a little extra care but they do produce excellent results that can last a lifetime.