Not every child has naturally straight teeth, and it is very common for kids to need braces. As a parent, you are probably very concerned with making sure that your child’s teeth are healthy and progressing with their braces.
Braces are very expensive, so you want to make sure that your child is properly taking care of them, as well as their teeth. To ensure that they are taking good care of their braces, they need to clean them properly and avoid foods that can damage them.
Keep reading for our step-by-step guide on how to properly clean teeth with braces, and our list of foods to avoid while wearing them.
If you are looking for a dentist in Woodbridge for your child, give Woodbridge Kids Dentistry a call. Our team is trained specifically in pediatric dentistry and can answer and question or concerns you have on your child’s oral health.
A Step-by-Step for Cleaning Braces
Proper brushing and flossing is important for all children, but especially for children with braces, as food and plaque can form not only on teeth but on the brace as well. Remember to regularly check in with your dentist to ensure the health of your child’s teeth, and teach your child these steps to ensure that they are properly cleaning their teeth:
Step 1 – Prep: Get everything ready prior to brushing; make sure your child gets their toothbrush ready, removes all elastics and other removable parts to their braces before they start brushing.
Step 2 – Clean Braces: Start by cleaning around the braces. Your child should be brushing from the top to the bottom of each wire. Make sure that your child takes their time and cleans every wire and pin on the braces; these are areas that the most plaque will accumulate and cause tooth decay, so make sure that they take extra time.
Step 3 – Brush Teeth: Once the braces have been cleaned, your child can start cleaning their teeth. With braces, each tooth should be cleaned individually to ensure all plaque and debris are completely removed. The correct way your child should be brushing their teeth is by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, and then brushing in circular movements while carefully applying pressure. Remind them not to brush too hard though, as this can irritate the gums. Continue until all teeth are cleaned.
Step 4 – Floss: When flossing with braces, it is best to use waxed floss as the unwaxed kind is more likely to get caught and shred in your child’s braces. To start, get your child to break off about 18 inches of floss; then take the floss and gently push it under the wire of the braces before pushing it through the gaps of the teeth. Remove the floss and repeat until all teeth have properly flossed.
Step 5 – Rinse: Once your child is finished flossing they can rinse. If your child is fairly young, take a moment to examine their teeth when they have finished, just to make sure they cleaned everything.
Foods To Avoid Eating With Braces
There are certain foods that can cause damage to your braces and teeth, and they should be avoided while your child is wearing their braces. These include:
Hard Foods: Your child should avoid eating hard foods, such as popcorn, nuts, hard candy and hard taco shells. Your child should also avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots unless they are chopped up into smaller pieces. These foods can break the wiring on your child’s braces, or get stuck between their teeth, which are harder to clean with braces on.
Sugary Foods: Your child should avoid eating sugary snacks like cookies, ice cream, cake, etc. often. Once in awhile is alright but these foods are known for causing cavities and tooth decay, and once again with braces on your child’s teeth are harder to clean.
Sugary and Acidic Beverages: Just like sugary foods, your child should limit the amount of sugary drinks that they consume to avoid cavities, tooth decay, and damage to their enamel. These drinks include pop, sports/energy drinks, and juice with added sugar.
Sticky/Gooey Candy: Sticky and gooey foods can easily get stuck in your child’s braces and damage them, so they should be avoided. These include foods like gum, caramels, and other gummy candy.