We are both deeply immersed in the world of orthodontia. Sounds thrilling, right? It feels like a right of passage for parents of teens, but since I managed to avoid braces for myself as a child, it’s all brand new to me. Both of my kids recently had braces put on on the same day, and I went on a mission to learn everything I could about taking care of their teeth in the process! Here’s everything I know about taking care of braces and taking care of their teeth while their braces are on.
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Taking Care of Braces – Brush Often
This seems obvious, but it’s more important than ever. The physical appearance of your teeth will be effected by how well you take care of your teeth while your braces are on, so it’s important to make brushing twice a day for two minutes a priority.
We have a timer in our bathroom so my kids know exactly how long two minutes is, but there are also apps to help with this!
Apps to Help Kids Brush Their Teeth
- Brush DJ – Allows you to choose any song from your iTunes library and plays it for exactly two minites
- Brush Out – Designed to make your kids better brushers by coaching them through best brushing practices
- Sonicare, Quip, and Oral B both have apps designed to integrate with their toothbrushes, which is nice to know if you own an electronic toothbrush or are planning to purchase one
Taking Care of Braces – Flossing
Yes, you can use traditional floss with braces, it just takes a little bit of extra effort and the use of a floss threader.
I’m about to be very honest here. While my dentist has said there’s no replacing actual flossing in terms of effectiveness and gum health, the idea that my children are going to needlepoint their way through a floss routine every night is laughable.
Hear me out. I am not saying that you shouldn’t floss, but I am saying that you should be honest with yourself about everyone’s willingness to commit to a routine. Does this mean that you’re destined for terrible gum health? No!
Water Flossing for Braces
Using a WaterPik or a water flosser in general is a great way to supplement flossing while you have braces. While the original version with the countertop tank is still around, you can also get a waterproof version to take in the shower for less mess! Thanks to Wendy for that tip!
These resemble a teeny tiny bottle brush and can be used for sweeping food out of hard to reach spaces. These are great for keeping in backpacks or in the car when brushing and flossing isn’t an option.
Brushing on the Go
It’s not always practical to carry a toothbrush and toothpaste around with you, especially for kids in school, but Wendy and I both love to keep these Colgate Wisp brushes on hand, and their great for our kids in braces to use after lunch.
Add Mouthwash to Your Routine
I’ll be honest again, my kids hate mouthwash, but not as much as they hate brushing. I let them each choose the flavor that seemed most enticing, provided that it had fluoride. This was a recommendation from our orthodontist, who once again said that it’s not a replacement for flossing, but will help with tooth and gum health.
Managing the Pain and Discomfort of Braces
My kids were worried that they would never adjust to the weird feeling of braces in their mouths, but I’m happy to report that within the first week they had totally adjusted. However! That’s not to say that there isn’t some pain and discomfort with braces initially, and when they’re adjusted. Fortunately, there are several ways to manage the pain.
It’s not high tech, but it’s effective. If there’s an area of you’re braces that’s irritating your mouth, covering the area with wax helps a TON. it’s worth noting that if something is especially bothersome, you should mention it to your orthodontist who might be able to make an adjustment. (These OrthoDots have great reviews as an alternative to wax!
Pain Relieving Mouthwash
Peroxyl is specifically made to help with pain and speed healing of mouth sores. We didn’t find that we needed it, but it’s nice to know that it exists.
If you’re getting braces soon, good luck! We hope these tips, along with regular visits to your dentist and orthodontist will help make it an easy experience!