Brace Your Children for Better Oral Health – Braces

March 11, 2015

blog 4Last week’s blog focused on Children’s Dental Health month activities and helping relieve anxiety and fears about visiting the dentist. The theme of Children’s Oral Health continues with this week’s topic of Orthodontics and maintaining good hygiene.

Getting orthodontics, or “braces” has moved beyond children calling each other “brace face or metal mouth”. Within certain age groups it has become more of the norm. In the United States, 50-70 % of youth ages 6-18 will wear braces at some point during their formative years. Approximately 75% of children have some sort of malocclusion or “bad bite” that can be corrected with orthodontics.

Reasons for getting orthodontics can be attributed to poor alignment from genetics, injury, tooth loss, or thumb sucking. These issues can be corrected to promote positive growth and development. Crowding and poor alignment of teeth can lead to changes in appearance, impact chewing and speaking, and put an individual at risk for future gum disease and joint problems. Proper and timely treatment is a step toward a healthy, beautiful smile that can last a lifetime.

Going through orthodontic treatment or “wearing braces” brings challenges for what to eat. A healthy diet is always important, braces or not, but making good choices can help keep the straightening process on track. Foods that are hard to bite into or chew can bend wires. Extremely hard foods or ice can break brackets and delay treatment. Someone in braces should try to stay away from corn on the cob, popcorn, whole apples, ice, sunflower seeds, and any sticky or very sugary foods.

Not only can some foods cause damage to wires and brackets, but it can be difficult to clean in and around all the hardware. An increase in food and plaque accumulation around appliances can lead to permanent staining or tooth decay. Good oral hygiene with braces is the same as without, but it takes a bit more time to do a thorough job. Adding a power tooth brush can be beneficial and additional fluoride in the form or a rinse or paste can also help prevent cavities.

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