It’s not always easy to teach children good dental hygiene habits. But if your child has to wear an orthodontic device, extra care is needed to keep their mouths healthy.
First, it’s important to know that orthodontic devices do not cause cavities. However, small particles of food can get stuck in them, which can lead to caries lesions. In that sense, orthodontic devices can become traps for bacteria. These bacteria can lead to the formation of cavities and gum disease.
If your child wears a fixed or removable device, they will have to brush their teeth carefully after every meal and snack. Each brushing session should last about three minutes. To help your child know when the three minutes are up, use a timer or have them listen to a song.
The tools and brushing technique used also play an important part in good oral hygiene. A short, narrow toothbrush with a slightly curved handle works best for orthodontic device wearers. Opt for a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles to prevent damage to the gums. As soon as the bristles show signs of wear, replace the toothbrush. Toothbrushes get worn out faster (approximately every three months) when used by an orthodontic device wearer, so check them regularly.
Make sure that the entire surface of the teeth is cleaned (left, right, front, back, top, and bottom). Begin brushing at the gum line and work down toward the edge of the tooth. And don’t forget to floss! Brushing the tongue is also important for good oral health as it helps eliminate residual food particles. You can choose whichever toothpaste you prefer, but in some cases your dentist may recommend a specific brand.