If your child recently had braces put on, they’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, approximately 4.5 million Americans, most of then kids and teenagers, wear braces. In fact, up to 80% of those who undergo orthodontic treatment range between the ages of six and 18.
Braces can help to correct your child’s teeth and jaw alignments while they’re still growing. This can prevent future dental issues as your child grows such as TMJ pain, bone loss, gum erosion, and digestion issues. However, despite their benefits, braces are still a major investment. It’s important to take care of them the right way to make sure your child or teen is getting the most out of their orthodontic treatment.
That said, here are some of the things you should do to take care of your child’s braces and some things you should never do.
DO: Go to a professional orthodontist
All orthodontists are trained dentists, but only 5% of dentists are also orthodontists. It’s essential when you’re doing your research for potential orthodontists for your kids that you look into a dentist’s background to make sure that they have the professional experience to give your child the braces they need.
DON’T: Let your child DIY their braces
DIY braces have been an unfortunate trend in recent years with some DIY attempts being more impressive than others. For instance, LulzBot 3D Printers, which have been involved in the creation of 3D printed bridges, can also be used to 3D print braces and clear aligners as one college student did in 2016. However, DIY braces and aligners can have major consequences when you don’t have the dental training to do them correctly. The damage caused by DIY braces include damage to your roots, gums, and braces. Common DIY practices such as using rubber bands can cut off the blood supply to your gums, which can cause chronic inflammation, a condition that affects 350 million people around the world, and infection.
DO: Protect the teeth when playing sports
Your child can keep playing sports while they have their braces on. But it’s important to make sure your child’s teeth are protected while they’re playing to prevent an expensive mistake like a broken wire. Talk to your child’s dentist about receiving a mouthguard for your child, which your child can use to keep their mouth safe while they’re on the field or court. If your child plays football, they may already have a mouthguard given to them by their coach. Make sure they use it to keep their teeth protected.
DON’T: Forego flossing
Children and parents alike may think that flossing with braces is impossible. But it turns out that you can floss just as well when you have braces on your teeth. In fact, flossing is actually critical when you have braces because it helps to remove food particles and bacteria from the spaces of your teeth. All you need to do is carefully thread the floss between the tooth and the wire of the braces. A floss threader can be handy in this case.
Braces are a major investment. By taking care of them the right way, you can make sure that you and your child are getting your money’s worth.