Good dental hygiene is crucial for kids with braces. You've seen how excited your child has been anticipating that happy day in the future when the braces finally come off. To make sure his smile is everything he's been hoping for, it's important to keep his teeth clean and ensure that he develops good brushing habits while still wearing braces. If your child will be in braces for any length of time, you can prevent any long-term issues, such as cavities under the braces or discoloration around where the braces are bonded to the teeth, by establishing the following routines:
Rinsing and Brushing
Three to four times per day, have your child rinse his mouth with water to loosen food that might be caught in the braces, then brush thoroughly. You can learn more about brushing techniques in the Colgate Oral Care resources, but it is important to brush regularly with braces because food can easily be lodged in and behind the braces, creating pockets of potential decay. Each night before bed, have your child rinse with a fluoride rinse after brushing to help keep the teeth strong and healthy.
Once per day, you should help your child floss. Flossing with braces can be difficult, but you can use many flossing options that will help ensure the gums stay healthy. Flossing helps to loosen food debris and plaque at and under the gum line that would otherwise harden into tartar. It can also help reach the nooks and crannies in the teeth that might be difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
Every six months, take your child to his regular dentist for a cleaning and a checkup. His dentist can point out areas that need more attention, help make sure you're keeping his teeth healthy, and clean in and around the braces. Often, your dentist and dental hygienist can suggest helpful tools or ideas to keep your child's teeth healthy while the braces are on.
Good Dental Hygiene Away from Home
You can help your child keep his teeth clean when he is home, but when he is at school or traveling, there are other challenges. Send a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to school with your child so that he can get in the habit of stopping at the restroom each day after lunch to rinse and brush. When you travel, make sure to make time for good dental care on the road.