If your child or teen needs braces, you may be asking a question we hear often: Will my child be able to take care of braces? We like to reassure parents by letting them know that it’s already a big responsibility to keep teeth clean—adding braces just serves as an extra reminder of the task. The reality is, braces maintenance isn’t too many steps further than regular teeth cleaning. Also, a little responsibility never hurt anyone! See below for our top 5 tips when taking care of your braces.
1. Brush often!
At the very least, plan to brush your teeth for 2 minutes in the morning and again at night. Gold star students brush their braces after every meal or snack, but when that isn’t an option, a water rinse will help.
2. Avoid crunchy and sticky foods.
These will probably be your child’s biggest sacrifice, but they are a braces no-no as they can loosen or damage the braces. Sticky or chewy foods can become a mess with braces, so skip the gummies, Skittles, caramels, and taffy. Crunchy foods like popcorn and chips also make the list of things to avoid—small pieces can get stuck between the teeth and braces. You can still enjoy some hard foods as long as you cut them into small pieces instead of biting straight into them—apples, pears, pizza crust, and more.
If you ever do have a problem with any food that sticks, make floss your friend. It is actually recommended to keep flossing once a day to maintain the health of your gums and keep those braces extra clean. We’ll show you how it’s done and provide threaders to make it possible to work around the wires. You also might be able to use water picks, which your child may find fun to use—they use pressurized bursts of water to rinse away debris.
4. Avoid pop and sports drinks.
This recommendation is exactly the same as when your child does not have braces. Because of the acid and sugars in pop and sports drinks, we recommend you steer clear. We understand the craving and sweet tooth, though—if you do enjoy a good sweet drink on occasion, be sure to brush after or at least swish with water.
5. Kick the chewing habits.
No more chewing on pencils, pens, fingernails, or ice. It’s (literally and figuratively!) hard on the teeth and braces. The good news is, kicking these habits during the time you have braces often means the habits can be gone for good.
We will see your child at regular intervals during treatment, usually every 4-6 weeks. At this time, we will be able to monitor to be sure the teeth and gums are doing well and that your child is doing a stellar job with braces maintenance.
If this all sounds like a lot and your child is still young, we have good news. In most cases, Dr. Rondeau recommends two phases of orthodontic treatment, and the second phase of treatment is braces. Receiving early treatment, which usually involves a removable or fixed oral appliance, can create space in the mouth and significantly reduce the amount of time your child will need braces once the permanent teeth erupt.
Are you interested in learning more about braces for your child? Set up an appointment to visit Dr. Rondeau today.
Dr. Brock Rondeau & Associates
London, ON. Call for an appointment: (519) 455-4110.