Caring for kids teeth with braces is incredibly challenging. When my children were younger, we worked hard to get them to do a good job brushing their teeth. We would buy fruity tasting toothpaste and sing songs to remind them how long they should be brushing for. Once they got the hang of things, I pretty much began ignoring tooth brushing time for about 10 years. I figured they were old enough to do it by themselves and it was one less thing for me to worry about, right? As long as the dentist said their teeth looked okay I wasn’t going to worry about it any more.
Tips for Caring for Teeth with Braces
Caring for Kids Teeth with Braces
Well, then came the teen years and with it we began our journey into thousands of dollars worth of orthodontics work. Spacers, jaw widening devices, braces and soon elastic bands. Oh, the joys of having teenagers, right? Well, now I find myself worrying all over again about how good a job they are doing when they brush their teeth. Caring for kids teeth with braces requires a lot more work than it did before they had all that metal in their mouths.
Now that they have all those cracks and crevices for food particles to hide in, I find myself nagging at them again…Did you do a good job? Did you floss? How about using the special mouthwash I bought you? Are you REALLY done brushing that quickly? Teeth brushing time has begun to be a game of Twenty Questions in my house. I have been struggling to get them to understand the importance of slowing down and caring for their teeth properly.
Watch what they eat:
You will get a whole list of foods from your orthodontist on things they should avoid eating while they have braces. Everything from gum and taffy to ice cubes and popcorn are on the ‘do not eat’ list. Even healthy foods like apples and carrot sticks are a big no no. I find that slicing apples nice and thin and steaming the carrot sticks for a few minutes to soften them up makes them much easier to eat.
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Protect those teeth during sports.
If your child is active in sports, make sure you get an orthodontist approved mouth guard for them to wear while they play. They can do serious damage to their mouth and set you back a lot of money if they get hit in the mouth with a cleat or fast moving ball.
Stock up on wax and Anbesol:
All that wire can be harsh on the lining inside the mouth. Make sure your orthodontist gives you wax to cover the wire with and invest in a numbing gel to help sooth tender gums and cheeks.
Find the right toothpaste:
My daughter has never liked most mint flavored toothpastes and when she was younger we always got the bubblegum or strawberry versions. Since no one else in the house likes that sort of toothpaste we always have multiple flavors floating around. I recently found a ‘mild mint’ toothpaste from Toms of Maine that she really enjoys so I only need to buy one toothpaste for the kids bathroom.
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Don’t forget to floss:
Just because they have all that metal in their mouths doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be flossing. They make little tiny floss threaders that help your child weave the dental floss between their teeth for easy flossing. Flossing is one of the most important parts of caring for kids teeth with braces. So much food gets stuck in there that you really need to make sure they are getting it all out!
Make things easy to find:
We keep a basket on the counter in easy reach of the kids to encourage them to use all the products we blow our money on. Honestly, my teens are so lazy some days that just opening the medicine cabinet is too much work for them. Mouthwash, floss, toothpaste, etc all get put in the basket as a visual reminder to take care of their teeth.
Make sure they are brushing long enough.
Just like when my kids were younger, I needed to find a way to keep them at the link longer. Teenagers have OH so many more important things to do in life than to brush their teeth. Like eat me out of house and home and socialize with their friends. Caring for kids teeth with braces means keeping them clean and in order to do THAT they need to actually be in the bathroom brushing. I tried a timer but that was rather boring and required one extra step that they are just too lazy to take.
Have any other tips for caring for teeth with braces?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.