Braces are extremely common among children and teens. Whether to correct an overbite, an underbite, teeth crowding, or gaps, they can be very important for improving your child’s tooth alignment. When your teen or child gets their first braces, it can be challenging for them to adapt to new dental habits. This is especially true for younger teens. Caring for your teeth while having braces can be challenging and hard to get used to.
The first general tip we recommend to all of our teenage patients with braces is that they ask questions and pay attention to their orthodontist and dentist. An important part of learning how to manage dental health with braces is to work with professionals. Braces can cause a lot of difficulties for teens to keep their teeth healthy. The wires make it difficult to floss, and the braces add new areas where plaque can build up. That is why we recommend that you keep orthodontist and dental visits consistent so that your child can keep track of their dental health and ask important questions.
The first important topic to go over when talking about braces is diet. It is vital that your son or daughter understand that certain foods can cause immediate problems with braces. Sticky foods like gum and certain candies can bond to braces and pop them off. Meanwhile hard and crunchy foods like chips, pretzels, and popcorn can get stuck between the wires and the teeth and eventually break the wires. Broken wires and popped brackets require a visit to your orthodontist or dentist. They can also be painful because of sharp pieces of metal.
In cases where your son or daughter’s braces are broken because of food or other issues, it is important to immediately make an appointment with your orthodontist. In the meantime, dental wax can be used to cover and blunt and sharp edges. Although much rarer, in some cases a child will swallow part of their braces or a rubber band if they have difficulty breathing or feel something wrong with their stomach, you should immediately bring them to a doctor. It is rare for a bracket or wire to be swallowed since they are usually still attached to another piece and initially will just hang freely in the mouth. But if this happens, and your child feels discomfort you should bring them to a doctor. Another note; if your child has braces and plays sports, it is recommended that they wear a mouth guard so that they do not run into any issues with sports-related dental injuries.
If your child has braces, it is important that they know the proper way to floss and brush. There are special types of floss that make it easier to thread the floss behind the wiring. You can get this floss from orthodontists as well at many pharmacies. As always your child needs to floss every single gap between their teeth. As for brushing it is important to remove elastics and brush gently. We recommend that children also rinse out their mouth to remove any loose food. Generally, kids and adults without braces are recommended to brush 2-3 times per day, but if your child has braces they should brush after they eat food every time to avoid food getting stuck.
If you have any other questions about brushing and flossing with braces. Contact All Star Dental. We specialize in caring for kids and teens in the Chicago area.