Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Keeping Teeth Clean for Children with Braces

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published January 2, 2018

It is not uncommon for kids to have braces. In fact, roughly 3.5 million children and teens take on orthodontic treatment, usually braces, every single year. As a parent who may have had braces when you were young, you might recall the difficulties of adjusting to braces and learning how to keep your teeth clean. If your child has recently had interceptive orthodontics and has started living with braces, it’s important that they understand the importance of proper cleaning to avoid staining their teeth. We at Pediatric Dentistry would like to provide some tips to help youth and teens keep their teeth sparkly clean while having traditional braces!

Avoid sticky foods

As your orthodontist should tell you, sticky foods and braces to not get along. Candies like Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, and gum are disastrous when wearing braces. Each brace is a trap for food and the stickier items are the hardest to get out. The best way to make it easier for themselves is to avoid eating these kinds of sticky and hard foods while wearing braces.

Brush three to four times a day

When not living with braces, we recommend brushing at least twice a day. However, when a child has braces they are raising their potential for bacteria to get trapped in their teeth. The best way to combat this is by brushing an extra time or two throughout the day. Good times to do this would be after lunch and after an afternoon snack.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush

Although your child should already be using a soft-bristled with baby teeth still in, it is especially important to use when they have braces. Soft bristles are able to bend and flex around braces, allowing them to get in the crevices where the brace meets the tooth.

Remove bands before brushing

Not all children are given elastic bands when they have braces. Most of the time, elastic bands are given out once the braces have settles in a child’s mouth after a month or so. However, if your child is wearing bands, they need to remove the bands before brushing so that their mouth is not limited in how far it can open. Also, bands will get in the way of the path of a toothbrush, especially back in the molar areas.

Brush properly and use a flossing tool once a day

There is a method to brushing with braces to make sure that teeth are being properly cleaned. First, tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle and brush where the teeth meet the gumline. Then, gently brush around the braces, doing so one brace at a time. After rinsing out your mouth, make sure to use the flossing tool that your orthodontist will provide you with after every brush!


Pediatric Dentistry – Des Moines & Ankeny

If you are unsure about whether your child needs braces or not, please schedule an appointment with us and we will happily walk you and your child through an analysis. Braces may not always be the answer, but your child may need another form interceptive orthodontics. It’s important to know that whatever they may need will always last over a duration of time. If your child is due for a dental cleaning or needs sealants, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment!


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