Dental Tips For Children With Braces
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), braces help in fixing crooked teeth, teeth that are spaced too close, or too far apart. Hence, braces become a part of life for many growing kids. However, it is important that the kids take care of their braces, because the better it is taken care of, the more effective the results will be and the sooner it can be removed.
In the first few days of using dental braces, the child may experience soreness/sensitivity/pressure in the teeth, which may be expressed as dull ache/pain/discomfort and irritating. Hence, a usual dose of a mild pain reliever may be given as directed, after meals to relieve these symptoms. Also, warm salt water gargles several times a day, is suggested to relieve the ache.
Diet After The Procedure
During this period, a soft diet is recommended. Foods such as porridge, milk, soup, rice, dal, idli, cooked vegetables, curds, soft fruits like bananas, fruit juice, milkshakes, jelly, custard, etc. can be consumed, And in about a week’s time, the child should gradually be able to start having a normal diet.
However, throughout orthodontic treatment it is mandatory to avoid hard or sticky foods at all times (chewing gums, chikki, toast, mentos, ice, etc.) as eating hard or sticky foods could break/dislodge the braces, causing great discomfort, reversing some treatment results and prolonging the time required to finish the treatment.
Changing The Way Of Eating Foods
- Never bite into whole fruits, like apples or pears. Always cut them into small pieces/ slices and chew them with the molars.
- Vegetables like carrots can be grated.
- The meat on bones should be soft and cut into smaller bits and the bones should not be chewed.
- Bread/biscuits/pizza may be cut into pieces and chewed with the molars. Biting into any of these foods with the front teeth should be avoided.
- Nuts can also be chopped and chewed with the molars, or teeth located at the back.
- Mints can be sucked on, but never chewed.
- Frizzy/carbonated beverages should be avoided, as these could damage the enamel of the teeth. So choose healthier options such as fruit juices.
In case the child’s tongue or the inside of the lips or cheeks become inflamed, it is advised to first dry the area with a cotton bud and then apply the prescribed gel. And don’t worry because, the child may soon get used to the braces and after some time, he/she may not even realize that the braces are on.
Caring For The Teeth And Gums
The child must brush his/her teeth and gums at least three times a day, preferably after meals. If this is not always practiced, then at least the mouth must be rinsed thoroughly with water after lunch/dinner or a snack.
It is best for the child to use a soft bristle toothbrush with a small head, to easily access all areas of the mouth. Get fluoridated toothpaste and make sure the child spends at least three minutes for thorough brushing, during each session.
Attend to both sides of each jaw separately and in sequence, so that every surface of each tooth, is taken care of.
Here’s the correct technique for your child to brush – the bristles of the brush must be angled towards the gum, with the tips of the bristles at the gum line on the outer surfaces of the teeth, between the orthodontic wires and gum line (the head of the brush will cover two or three teeth at a time). Now the handle of the toothbrush must be jiggled, to massage the gums with a light circular motion and then swept over the teeth, away from the gums in one direction only. This will very effectively dislodge all the food particles stuck. However, make sure the child avoids the use of an up and down movement.
Let the child repeat this action a couple of times before moving on to the next segment of teeth and instruct to repeat the same on the inner surfaces of the teeth, again starting at the gum line.
The chewing surfaces of the teeth must be brushed with a scrubbing motion
It is advisable to use interdental brush tips to remove any food particles or plaque that collects around orthodontic brackets, wires and near the gum margins. And this does not require toothpaste.