Braces and Your Teen’s Oral Hygiene

Leann Hart Dental Advise

Nothing says adolescence quite like braces. If you’ve never had the pleasure of having them yourself, you probably know someone who does. And you probably know how difficult it can be to care for your teeth while braces are on.

Your teen may be excited at the thought of braces coming off at some point, so a solid oral hygiene routine is crucial to the condition of their mouth’s life after braces. Read on for tips to master oral hygiene with braces.

Why is it Important?

You may not know, but caring for your teeth with braces on is a critical matter. Food and plaque can get trapped in the spaces between the braces and wires, and since braces are typically on teeth for a year or more, this can cause tooth decay and gum problems. Not only that, but not taking proper care of your teeth with braces can lead to permanent stains on the teeth in the form of small light spots. So, if your teen is looking for a beautiful smile that’s not only straight but healthy and white, adhere to a strict hygiene routine.

How to Clean Your Teeth

Similar to your teen’s normal dental hygiene routine, they should brush and floss after every meal. It’s extra important when you have braces to take care in removing all food particles, since leaving them behind increases their risk of cavities and tooth decay.

If your teen is having difficulty removing food particles, have them rinse with water 3-4 times per day to loosen what may be caught in their braces. Once a day, just before bed, have your teen rinse with a fluoride rinse after brushing their teeth. This will help keep their teeth strong and prevent attacks on their enamel.

The biggest challenge for teens with braces is flossing and requires different tools to be effective. It’s tempting for your teen to skip flossing because of the difficulty level, but eliminating flossing in their routine will lead to gum disease. Floss threaders are perfect for braces and using them once per day to clean along the gumline and behind the wires increase the chances of having a healthy smile long after braces.

Once every six months, take your teen to the dentist for a thorough cleaning. Dentists can notice things that you may not be able to and can point out areas that require more attention with cleaning. Dentists are also able to provide incredibly helpful advice and suggest different tools that may make cleaning easier and the result after braces a better, more long-lasting one.

What to Eat and What to Avoid

Second to a consistent dental hygiene routine is the foods your teen eats. We know there are certain foods that are good for your overall health, including your mouth, but braces make food choices a little more complicated.

Soft foods like dairy, bread, grains, meats and seafood are all not only good for your teen’s overall health but safe to eat with braces. Eating these foods will ensure your teen’s teeth are strong and won’t cause any damage to brackets.

Avoid foods like the obvious sweets, sodas and other sugary foods that can promote tooth decay, but stick treats like caramel, taffy, and gum can stick to braces. Hard foods like hard candy, nuts, ice, and popcorn can break wires or brackets. Be sure to cut up crunchy foods like carrots and apples before biting into them. Even healthy foods like this can damage the quality of your teen’s braces.

 

Bottom Line

If your teen has braces and hasn’t been to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup, the time is now! Visit the team at West Chester Dental Arts, and we’ll have your teen’s teeth sparkling clean and healthy.