Millions of teens have either had braces or currently have them. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist at the first sign of an orthodontic problem, but no later than the age of 7. A common issue that parents deal with when their kids have braces is how to get them to practice good oral hygiene habits.
Many of them struggle with trying to get their kids to properly care for their teeth and braces. The good news is that there are things that parents can do to help create good oral hygiene habits in their kids.
“The biggest complaint that parents have is that their child doesn’t keep their teeth and braces clean,” explains Dr. Michael Florman, a Los Angeles-based orthodontist and the chief executive officer of EverSmile, Inc. “It’s important to combat this issue to avoid problems. Getting braces on a child is an investment in their physical and emotional health, and you don’t want that to be jeopardized by poor oral hygiene habits.”
One of the top concerns for parents who have kids with braces is the white spots that they can get on their teeth. According to a study published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, the white spot lesions are decalcification of enamel. Their study reports that the most important measure one can take to avoid these white lesions is to have good oral hygiene.
In other words, the white spot lesions are 100% preventable and all it takes to prevent them is having good oral hygiene.
So just how do parents go about motivating there are kids to maintain good oral hygiene habits? Here are 5 tips for establishing healthy oral hygiene habits in kids with braces:
- Create an oral hygiene schedule. Make it as important a priority as their violin lessons or sports practices. Schedule it each day for a few weeks, which will help them establish the habit and lay the foundation to continue doing it going forward.
- Help them determine if they are doing a good job. Have them take a toothpick and run the point around the gum line, braces, and in-between the teeth, gathering up the plaque and testing if the teeth are cleaned. The bunched-up plaque will look like mashed potatoes with a white to yellow color. Use plaque-disclosing solutions or tablets to highlight the plaque, allowing children to