3 Tips to Prepare Your Teen for Successful Tooth Brushing With Braces

Best braces hygiene tips

Braces can be a bit of a time commitment, but when they are left to do their work, the benefits far outweigh any inconveniences. Braces will correct your teen’s bite, straighten their teeth, and help them feel more confident about their smile. That said, teens need to learn the ins and outs of dental hygiene with braces . We’ve put together some tips to help your teen be successful when brushing their teeth and caring for their braces during their orthodontic treatment.

The Ins and Outs of Dental Hygiene with Braces 

Getting your teen to agree to get braces in the first place can sometimes be a struggle. And once those braces go on, the next step is to help them understand how to take care of their oral health. There are a few tips and tricks to ensure that your teen’s braces and orthodontic treatment are as effective as possible.

1. Help your teen select the right tools for the job.

Taking care of braces doesn’t need to be complicated. But, there are certain tools that can make dental hygiene with braces that much easier. So hop in the car with your teenager, and head to your local store’s dental aisle to pick out some new tools. In particular, we recommend three tools to add to your teen’s bathroom arsenal.

Electric toothbrushes come in either the rechargeable or battery-operated variety. Whichever version your teen prefers, they will benefit because these types of toothbrushes are more effective in removing plaque and food particles than regular toothbrushes. Further, when using an electric toothbrush, your teen will likely be more gentle in their motions, which is not only better for their teeth but can also help prevent damage to wires and brackets.

Once your child is equipped with their electric toothbrush, teach them how to brush and floss with braces. And when you see them doing the job well, be sure to recognize their efforts. The three rules of thumb for the best braces hygiene are:

  • Brush at least twice a day or after meals for two minutes at a time
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle from the gumline
  • Brush carefully around wires and brackets to remove any bacteria or food particles

Interdental brushes are a great alternative to flossing and are highly recommended for teens that haven’t done an adequate job flossing in the past. These unique brushes are small and easy to carry discreetly. They are also beneficial for getting to those hard-to-reach places.

Finally, water flossers are another great way to get food particles out from between teeth. These tools use pressurized jets of water that flow easily around wires and brackets while massaging the gumline. We recommend an interdental brush when on the go and a water flosser at home.

2. Let your teen organize their bathroom.

When your teen has to dig through drawers and reach high-up shelves to access their dental tools, they will be far less likely to use them. Allow your teen to choose organizers and determine the best way to keep their tools accessible. Ensure that the tools they will use every day, such as their toothbrush, interdental brush, and water flosser, are easily accessible on the counter or in a convenient drawer.

Help your teen to keep their bathroom clean and tidy too. Germs accumulate quickly, and when left to fester, things can become a germ-filled disaster. The last thing your teen will want to do is brush their teeth with a toothbrush that has been unnecessarily exposed to bacteria. Helping them succeed at keeping their bathroom clean is the best way to reduce the risk of illness or infection.

3. Turn orthodontist visit days into special days.

When your teen has braces, they will likely require multiple trips to the dentist or orthodontist. During these visits, their dental professional will make the appropriate adjustments, fix any broken or damaged orthodontia, and ensure the teeth and gums are healthy. All of these visits can feel overwhelming for your teen. So why not turn those days into something fun and special for the two of you to enjoy? 

Consider going out to lunch afterward, or maybe a shopping trip once in a while. Why not head to the movies (just skip the popcorn)? Whatever option you come up with, the key is to make the day about more than just the trip to the dentist. Trust us, you’ll appreciate the special time together, and while your teen might not show it, we suspect they will too.

Don’t forget those professional dental cleanings every six months as part of your teen’s oral hygiene routine.

Just because your teen has braces and is making regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist to check wires, brackets, and correction, it doesn’t mean that their regular visit to the dentist should be skipped. A key to good oral hygiene with braces is to ensure a professional dental cleaning and oral evaluation every six months. So, if your teen is due for their dental cleaning, there is no time like the present to request an appointment with Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver, WA. We look forward to being a part of your teen’s success story.