One of the most important things you can do for your child while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment is helping them follow a consistent oral care regimen. From forbidden foods, to brushing and flossing, Manhattan orthodontist Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen was kind enough to share her thoughts on how to help your kids have healthy orthodontics treatment experiences.
And I, for one, couldn't be more grateful for the tips. With parents who both needed braces, I don't see my kiddos escaping the need for orthodontics treatment. Sigh. So, I'll take any advice I can get to make the experience go smoothly! On that note, let's see what Dr. Stoess-Allen has to say...
1. First, know what types of foods are off-limits based on the type of appliances used for treatment. “Kids with traditional braces should avoid sticky, chewy candies (gummy bears, Swedish Fish etc.) and hard foods (certain breads, pretzels, carrots etc.) so brackets and wires do not become dislodged,” Stoess-Allen says. “However, if your teen is wearing Invisalign clear aligners, this rule does not apply. Invisalign treatment, as many parents know, is proven to fix teen smiles—from simple to complex cases—and there are no food limitations as long as the aligners are removed before eating.”
2. Remind your child to brush at least twice every day. “Kids who are undergoing orthodontic treatment should brush at least two times daily for two-minute intervals,” Stoess-Allen says. “When plaque is allowed to stay on the teeth, the teeth are more prone to develop cavities or decalcification (white spots). “Tooth brushing cleans the plaque off the teeth.”
3. Follow similar rules for flossing. “Flossing removes the plaque from between the teeth,” Stoess-Allen says. She recommends flossing teeth at least a day. “It is very important for patients with braces or Invisalign to floss their teeth every day. Oral hygiene is key to proper tooth movement as it is difficult for teeth to move through puffy, inflamed gum tissue.”
4. Avoid sugary foods. “Or, if your child does eat anything sugary, make sure they brush their teeth immediately after consumption,” Dr. Stoess-Allen says. “If your child’s gum tissue is puffy or bleeds easily, ask their orthodontist for help with improving their brushing technique and schedule more frequent dental cleanings.”
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