A Guide to Braces for Children and Aftercare

Child Patient at Dulwich Orthodontics

How children’s braces should be cared for, tips on how to teach your child correct orthodontic care and signs to teach children to look for if their brace breaks.

Whilst we are seeing a considerable increase in the number of adults that seek orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth, braces for children are still extremely common. Many children around the age of 12 or 13 (or sometimes a little earlier or later) wear braces to help correct misalignment and bite problems, helping them to feel more confident in their smile as they grow up.

As a parent, it’s important to support your child whilst they undergo orthodontic treatment. Not only is it essential to make sure braces are able to do their job, but you will also want to pay close attention to your child’s oral hygiene routine to make sure their teeth and gums stay healthy.

We are here to offer our advice with the most important things your children should be doing to take care of their braces, teeth and gums.

Caring for Children’s Braces

Brushing Regularly

This may seem obvious, for brushing your teeth is extremely important for protecting teeth and braces. When you eat, bacteria builds up on the teeth, and with braces, there are even more places for food particles to get stuck and create plaque. As a result, it’s important that you encourage your child to brush their teeth after every meal, using a fluoride toothpaste.

When brushing around braces, it’s important that your child takes even more care than usual. An electric toothbrush is excellent for cleaning around braces and under archwires, as well as on the surfaces of the teeth and around the gums.

We recommend that your child holds their toothbrush at a 45 degree angle at the gum line, pointing downwards for the upper teeth, and upwards for the lower teeth. Every tooth should be brushed individually, with your child taking care to clean away any food particles. After brushing, it’s important to rinse the teeth, swilling mouthwash to ensure all food is removed.

Don’t forget to floss

Whilst flossing may seem especially fiddly with fixed braces, flossing daily is very important. If your child has trouble threading floss under the archwires of their braces, you may wish to try thin interdental cleaning brushes instead. Make sure that your child takes time to clean between all teeth to remove plaque and food particles.

Avoid chewy and hard foods

So that braces for children can work as quickly and effectively as possible, it’s important to protect them from breaking. Biting into a crunchy apple, crustry bread or chewing on popcorn can cause brace brackets to separate from teeth or archwires to snap, resulting in an emergency visit to the orthodontist. When eating particularly hard fruit, cutting it into smaller pieces helps to reduce the risk of damage to braces.

If possible, avoid harder snacks such as popcorn, or pretzels.

Avoid sugary food and drinks

Whilst most children love sweets and sugary drinks, it’s important that they cut down whilst wearing braces. Sugary and acidic food and drinks are leading causes of plaque build-up and tooth decay, and as braces provide even more places for remnants of sugary, sticky food to get stuck, they should be avoided. Of course, many sweets are also quite hard or chewy, so they also raise the risk of damage to braces!

Visit the Dentist regularly

Whilst wearing braces means regular trips to an orthodontist, this doesn’t mean that normal dental checkups stop. With the increased importance of healthy teeth and gums whilst undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is crucial that your child also attends regular dental checkups. A dentist will take great care to check teeth and gums for plaque and the risks of gum disease or other potential problems, as well as offering advice on cleaning around braces.

Don’t miss orthodontic appointments

In order for orthodontic treatment to go to plan, it is important for your child to attend all of their orthodontic appointments so that their braces can be adjusted as necessary to ensure their teeth move into the desired position.

Missing appointments will mean that treatment will take longer, which neither you or your child will want!

Orthodontic Aftercare

Once orthodontic treatment is complete and your child has their braces removed, it is important that they continue their daily oral health routine, making sure to brush their teeth at least twice a day (after every meal if possible) and floss daily.

After fixed braces are removed, retainers must be worn as recommended by an orthodontist. Retainers are made from thin, clear, medical grade plastic, and are made to fit perfectly over teeth, keeping them in position once braces treatment is complete. An orthodontist takes a detailed mould of your teeth in order for a retainer to provide an exact fit for your teeth.

Finding an Orthodontist London

If your dentist has recommended braces for your child, you can contact Dulwich Orthodontics to arrange a consultation. Our expert team are here to provide advice and guidance on caring for braces, as well as ensuring that your child’s teeth are realigned carefully and successfully.

Call us on 020 8265 9797.