Getting braces is almost considered a rite of passage for today’s young people. Approximately 4 million people today wear braces, and a whopping 75% of them are under 18! But even though braces are a common part of modern life, they still require extra special care.
Unfortunately, getting teens to follow the rules is no easy task.
If your teenager is about to get braces (or even if they’ve been wearing them for a while), it’s important to help them learn the proper techniques and protocols to care for their teeth. Here are a few tips that will help them keep their smile healthy while it’s being straightened:
Choose Your Tools Wisely
Once the orthodontist has outfitted a kid’s teeth with metal brackets and u-shaped wires, their old toothbrush at home won’t be enough to clean their mouths. Instead, kids with braces need to use additional brushing tools to prevent cavities and protect their teeth.
In addition to a standard toothbrush, make sure your child has an inter-ortho brush. This is a small, cone-shaped brush (we think it looks a little like a Christmas tree) that your child can use to scrub the tight spaces between their brackets.
Finally, kids and teens with braces can use a floss threader to help them maneuver dental floss around their braces. This will help dislodge any food particles that get stuck in their braces and keep their gums nice and healthy.
Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene
Having the right dental tools is a very important part of braces care – but it’s only half of the equation. Kids also need to practice proper oral hygiene during the time they wear braces. Not only will this help keep their teeth clean and cavity-free, it will establish good hygiene habits for the rest of their lives.
Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day. People with braces, however, should also consider brushing after every meal.
Using a traditional toothbrush, brush the teeth above and below the brackets at a 45-degree angle, and then use the inter-ortho brush to scrub between each bracket. This will remove food that could get stuck in the brackets or wires.
Avoid Sticky Sweets
Most orthodontists give people a list of foods to avoid while wearing braces. This list often includes popcorn, chewing gum, and many other kid-friendly snacks.
Now, while it would be great if everyone abided by their orthodontist’s rules, we know that sometimes the temptation of a tasty snack is just too great. Therefore, we suggest focusing on one rule above all: NO STICKY SWEETS!
Sticky candies like caramels or taffy can put extra pressure on your brackets, and this can cause them to pop off or otherwise damage your braces. Even if your braces manage to stay intact, these candies can cling to the metal and stay in your mouth long after you’ve brushed – filling your mouth with sugar and acid that’s terrible for your chompers.
Visit Your Orthodontist
Your orthodontist is here to help make your smile the best it can be. At each visit, he or she will track your progress, adjust your braces, and give you advice that will help you care for your teeth. However, your orthodontist can only do those things if you visit them regularly.
If you want to straighten your teeth and transform your smile, it’s important to keep up with your orthodontist appointments and follow your doctor’s advice. You can start today by calling Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics – we’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help you.