3 Things To Help Your Teen Successfully Brush Around Braces
Set your teenager up for success by understanding how to care for their teeth while wearing braces.
Having braces can be a life-changing event for a teen. Not only is your teen dealing with physical changes and leading a busy life with school, activities, and maybe even a job. Adding braces to the mix can be a challenge for some, but parents can help set their teens up for success in their braces hygiene routine during orthodontic treatment.
How To Brush Your Teeth While Wearing Braces
It’s important to keep up the daily habit of brushing your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day as well as flossing at least once a day. But while your teen is wearing braces, they’ll need to slightly modify their oral hygiene habits.
First, braces wearers need to remove any removable parts like elastics before they brush. They can just throw those away because they’ll place fresh elastics after every brushing. While brushing, dentists recommend you hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently brush in slow circles, making sure to get around the wires.
Because there are more objects to brush around (the braces themselves), it is okay to take longer than two minutes to brush your teeth. In fact, some dentists say it could take five minutes to thoroughly brush around braces.
If your teen is having trouble brushing using a manual toothbrush, have your dentist recommend an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush often has a smaller, rounded head, which is easier to maneuver around dental hardware.
Some braces wearers find they need to brush after every meal because food sticks in the brackets. If your teen finds this is the case, have them pack a mini toothbrush and travel toothpaste in a bag to carry with them so they can brush their teeth after lunch at school.
Don’t forget to floss!
Flossing is still an important part of braces hygiene, and it can be a bit tricky to master. For the best results, make sure to use waxed floss so it doesn’t snag and fray on the braces.
Take the dental floss and carefully thread it under the main wire of the braces before passing it between the teeth. Rub the floss up and down on each side of the teeth, then remove the floss and move on to the next two teeth. Remember not to snap the floss, as that can cut the gums or cause the floss to break.
Don’t forget to be supportive of your teen while they are wearing braces. The initial placement of orthodontics can cause some tissue inflammation, so keep some frozen treats like popsicles or frozen yogurt bars around the house. Remember that there are certain foods those with braces can’t have, like hard foods, sticky candies, popcorn, and gum.
Since your teen is limited in some of the foods that they can eat, get them involved in meal planning to ensure that they can still enjoy dinner with the family. For instance, your braces wearer won’t be able to eat corn on the cob, so if you or your teen isn’t willing to cut the corn off the cob, you’ll need to choose either canned or frozen corn or another vegetable from the farmers market for dinner.
Also remind your teen that this isn’t forever. The better care they take of their teeth during their time in braces, the sooner the braces can come off. And once the braces come off, your teen will have beautiful, straight teeth. Now that’s something to smile about!
We’ll help keep you smiling.
At King Dental, we’re focused on ensuring that you and your family leave our office smiling bright. So let us support you and your teen with all you need to love your smile and make sure it’s the best it can be. If you haven’t seen the dentist in a while, or if you just have some questions you want to discuss, let’s schedule your appointment today!