The addition of braces can present a whole new challenge in oral hygiene. Any kind of food easily gets stuck in between the teeth and around the brackets, and flossing can be a major inconvenience. It can often be difficult to get a child or adolescent to stay on top of their brushing and flossing, even without any kind of orthodontic appliance. The thing is, oral hygiene becomes twice as important while in orthodontic treatment. Teeth can easily decay around the brackets, or even demineralize and leave white spots all over the teeth when the brackets are removed. The following tools can improve the efficiency and convenience of your child’s oral hygiene routine.
The electric toothbrush is a tool that just about anyone can benefit from. Studies have proven that the motion of the brush removes more plaque than just brushing with a manual toothbrush. The electric toothbrush bristles can clean more effectively around an orthodontic bracket. In addition, many brushes have a timer that can help ensure that your child is brushing for at least the full recommended two minutes. Most brushes also have a pressure indicator so that your child doesn’t push too hard, damaging gum tissue or causing recession of the gums.
Waterpik & Interproximal Cleaning
A Waterpik can be a great tool but does not take the place of flossing. If your child absolutely can not get themselves to floss, using a Waterpik is better than doing nothing at all. The stream of water can be aimed around the teeth and brackets to rinse out any loose bacteria or food particles (but will not remove any attached bacteria). In order to remove the attached bacteria, actual floss must be used. SuperFloss, floss threaders, or platypus/ortho flossers, all of which can be found at your local drugstore or grocery store.
Professional Cleaning and Fluoride Treatment
As always, it is important to continue with your child’s dental cleanings every 6 months. If your child has poor oral hygiene, it may be recommended that they come in for cleanings every 3-4 months to prevent inflammation of the gum tissue and tooth decay. A professional fluoride treatment is also beneficial in preventing decay or softening of the tooth structure around the orthodontic bracket.
Oral hygiene can be a struggle, especially for an adolescent or child, during orthodontic treatment. Luckily, there are tools that can help make the process easier. Give our team at our Rancho Cucamonga, CA orthodontics office a call with any oral hygiene questions or to schedule your child’s next preventative cleaning.