Did your child just get braces for the first time? What an exciting time! We are sure you have many questions about how to best care for their braces. In this article, we seek to answer those questions.
During the time their braces are on, it’s essential they protect their mouth by following some basic guidelines for caring for the braces and teeth.
In the first few days after your child’s braces have been placed onto their teeth, the teeth may be tender. This is a normal part of the treatment process, and the discomfort will subside quickly.
In the meantime, it’s never too soon to start practicing good oral health and making some changes to daily habits to protect your child’s teeth and mouth, while the braces are doing their work.
The sooner your child can implement these tips for caring for braces and establishing healthy habits, the healthier their teeth and mouth will be later.
The Basics: Brushing And Flossing
Careful cleaning is required with braces because plaque bacteria are easily stuck inside and around them. Follow this brushing and flossing routine for great oral health.
Prepare to brush. Take off elastics and any other removable parts of your orthodontic appliance.
Clean your braces. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean under the wires and pins of your braces. Take your time to make sure that all plaque and debris are removed, and that you work all the way around your top and bottom teeth.
Brush your teeth. Clean each tooth individually. First, place your brush at a 45-degree angle the gum line, then apply gentle pressure as you move in a circular motion. Do this for about 10 seconds. Use the same brushing action on all outer and inner tooth surfaces, tilting the brush as needed to better reach the insides of smaller front teeth.
Floss once a day. Have your dental professional show you the best way to floss, or follow the instructions on the product package. You may also want to use a flossing product designed for braces and orthodontic work, like a floss threader.
Rinse and check your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouth rinse, and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror.
Foods to avoid
After your metal braces are installed, your orthodontist will provide a list of foods that you should avoid, including:
Nuts – hard nuts such as almonds or walnuts can break the brace’s wires
Sticky candies – sticky candies such as caramels or candy bars are off-limits
Popcorn – the hard kernels can damage your braces
Fibrous vegetables – raw or fibrous vegetables are a bad choice while wearing braces
Bagels – bagels are too hard and chewy
Corn chips – or other crunchy snacks
Whole raw fruit – avoid fruits such as apples and pears
Tough meat – tough meat such as steak or pork chops
Peanut butter – along with other sticky nut butter