If your child just got braces, you will need to watch closely to ensure that all of the proper steps are being taken to ensure that when the braces come off, your child is left with a mouthful of healthy, straight teeth, not a mouthful of cavities and gum disease!
Oral hygiene is more complicated and involved with braces, and a child who already has good habits is going to be challenged to step up to the new routines. Brushing and flossing can be far more difficult with braces and can take twice as long – or longer! You may not have watched your child brush in years, but now is the time to start paying attention again.
Your child’s orthodontist explained the new routines to your child as part of the braces application, but after the “new” wears off, the excitement and the sense of urgency to brush and floss can dissipate, and bad habits can be developed. Your child’s first in-office cleaning could bring some surprises, as children who never had a dental problem might be faced with plaque buildup or infection in the gums. Some dentists recommend that children have cleanings every three months instead of every six while braces are in place because extra care is needed.
If your child isn’t caring properly for his or her teeth while wearing braces, you will need to be firm about good habits. Be certain that your child understands what could happen if bacteria takes hold. Formerly healthy teeth could need fillings or other repairs. Consider setting up a reward system for good or improved checkups. Pair brushing with a reward chart and stickers and give small treats for a week’s worth of good habits.
Some dentists have special, colored toothpastes available that enable your child to see exactly where plaque is hiding. These toothpastes leave green or blue behind until the brushing process is thorough and complete. Your child might think it is fun to have a green mouth and would find brushing much more interesting.
If you’re having trouble getting your child to brush and floss while wearing braces, talk to your child’s orthodontist in Sherman Oaks for more tips.