Oral Care For Braces

Is your child currently being treated by an orthodontist to correct their smile’s alignment needs? There’s never been a more important time than now for your child to practice exceptional oral hygiene.

Why? Because wearing braces can make your child more susceptible to:

“White circles” or lines that form around orthodontic brackets

Bad breath (halitosis)
Gingivitis (swollen gums that bleed)

Having orthodontic appliances like brackets, wires, or other fixed appliances provides additional surface area for plaque and biofilm to adhere to throughout the day. If your child isn’t cleaning around each of these areas thoroughly, the bacteria stay in place and begin to damage their enamel or cause the gums to become infected. Even with routine professional cleanings, children undergoing orthodontic treatment require enhanced levels of home hygiene to help their mouths remain healthy during this key part of their lives.

Keeping braces clean

Oral care is one of the top priorities for orthodontic patients. Without cleaning around each bracket, wire, or appliance, your child continues to be at risk for enamel demineralization, scarred tooth surfaces, and cavities. Thankfully with great oral hygiene, your child can have clean braces and healthy teeth once their orthodontic appliances come off!

Teach them to brush properly

Simply scrubbing their teeth back and forth is not adequate when it comes to removing plaque around braces. Have your child brush both above and below their appliances, focusing on the areas along the gumlines, which are so frequently missed. Using fluoridated toothpaste can limit the number of cavity-forming bacteria in their mouth. Make sure that your child is spending at least 2 minutes brushing, each time. It can be helpful to purchase a timer or clock to keep near the bathroom sink for this very purpose.

Clean between

Thorough toothbrushing cannot remove bacteria between the teeth or under the gumlines. These are the most susceptible areas to cavities and gingivitis. This is perhaps the most time consuming commitment about caring for your child’s braces. Floss threaders are useful for weaving floss between the teeth, but modified orthodontic floss picks are also available from some retailers. Another option is to implement the use of a water flosser. Although these are quite messy, they are an effective way to clean between the teeth when access and dexterity is limited. The use of water flossers has been shown to limit the amount of bleeding and plaque between the teeth in orthodontic patients without the use of other types of interdental cleaning devices.

Use fluoride each day

Fluoride is one of the most important additions to your child’s oral hygiene routine when they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. The primary purpose of fluoride use for a child that wears braces is to limit the amount of enamel demineralization (white spots) that occur around the brackets and along the gumlines during their treatment.

Your orthodontist may choose to prescribe a fluoride to use each day for this purpose. Or, you may choose to purchase an over the counter fluoride rinse to help access areas between the teeth that a brush on gel might not be capable of reaching.