Summer has come to an end, and most parents are busy preparing their children for the return to school. Among the many concerns that parents have, such as supplies and clothing, it is important to remember that orthodontic health is just as important. If your child has braces, you should take precautions to ensure that their treatment goes smoothly and that their teeth remain healthy.
Here are some pointers to get you started.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing are important habits to instill in your children. The 22 rule states that you should brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. According to the American Dental Association,
Brush your teeth twice a day, children and adults, with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The toothbrush should be shaped and sized to fit the child’s mouth and allow them to reach all the corners and crevices.
Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months or when the bristles become weak or worn out.
Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is recommended.
To effectively clean their teeth, teach your children to hold their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently move it back and forth in short strokes. They should practice brushing the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces.
If your child eats sugary or starchy foods during lunch, it may be a good idea to have them carry a tooth brush and paste with them to clean their teeth after lunch. Food debris can be extremely damaging to teeth and can stain braces.
Teach your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Make certain that your child brings a water bottle to school. Water is good for hydration and aids in body processes. Water can also be used to replace sugary drinks, which children are often tempted to drink to quench their thirst. Water also contains fluoride, which is necessary for cavity prevention. Most importantly, drinking water on a regular basis will assist your child in washing out food debris in the mouth as well as diluting the acids produced by mouth bacteria.
Carry extra rubber bands with you.
Rubber bands are required for jaw alignment in children wearing braces. Rubber bands are attached to the brackets and aid in the adjustment of the teeth and jaws. They align the child’s teeth and allow for a shorter treatment period. Because rubber bands are so important for kids with braces, have them bring an extra pair to school and, even better, keep some in their school locker for emergencies.
Take Care of Your Diet
The adage “you are what you eat” implies that the foods and beverages you consume have an impact on your overall health. Sugary foods and drinks are bad for your teeth and can stain your braces. If your child consumes these sugary foods, have them wash the sugars and debris away with water. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid, which destroys teeth, promotes cavities, and, in severe cases, can cause decay.
Make healthy snacks for your children. Milk shakes, raw vegetables, grains, fruits, and eggs are examples of these. Children with braces should also eat soft foods like spaghetti. Bananas are well-known for their high potassium and fiber content. These nutrients are beneficial to the heart and bones. If your child’s school has a cafeteria, make sure you select healthy foods for them.
As you prepare to send your children back to school, one of the things you should consider is their oral health. Nurturing and caring for your child’s teeth will pay off later in life when they have healthy and bright smiles. Contact our office for additional advice and instruction on proper dental care measures; we’ll be happy to assist.