Orthodontists prescribe braces for teens to straighten their teeth, treat overbites or underbites, and fix spacing issues. Proper braces care will help your teen achieve the smile of their dreams, prevent long-term health issues, and stay as comfortable as possible during treatment. Here are our top 5 tips for braces for teens:
Know What Foods to Avoid
Your teen’s orthodontist will tell them which foods they can eat with braces. In general, it’s best to avoid sticky foods such as gummy bears and caramel candies that can get stuck between wires and brackets. They should also avoid eating extremely hard and crunchy foods which can cause braces to snap. Your teen can still consume hard fruits and vegetables, such as carrots or apples. Just make sure they cut them into smaller pieces before eating to prevent damage. For more information, read our list of foods to avoid with braces.
Have Them Wear a Mouth Guard
Braces for teens can mean lifestyle changes, but your teen doesn’t have to give up their favorite sport just because they’re achieving their ideal smile. Invest in a mouthguard for them to wear while playing sports to protect their teeth. The American Dental Association recommends wearing both a top and a bottom mouthguard for maximum protection. You can purchase inexpensive mouthguards at most sporting goods stores, but your orthodontist may be able to make a custom mouthguard that perfectly fits your teen’s mouth.
Brush and Floss With Vigilance
Your teen’s oral hygiene should not suffer just because they have braces. We recommend they brush each tooth with a soft-bristled brush in a circulation motion, beginning at the top of the tooth and moving downward. Then, they should start again at the bottom of the tooth and move upward. Dental experts advise that your teen brushes their top and bottom teeth for about 60 seconds each, going tooth by tooth to guarantee they’re sparkling clean.
Flossing can be difficult with braces, but it’s necessary. By threading the floss between the main wire and their teeth, your teen can fully floss each tooth like normal. Remind your teen to be gentle when flossing so they don’t accidentally pull off a bracket.
We recommend that your teen brushes regularly with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and increases resistance to acid and other damaging substances, helping your teen fight off tooth decay and prevent white spots. Additionally, buying your teen a fluoride mouthwash to rinse with adds an extra layer of protection.
Treat Soreness With Dental Wax
When it comes to braces for teens, there’s an adjustment period. At first, they may experience soreness as their mouth gets used to their new hardware. Your teen can use dental wax to create a soft barrier between their braces and gums to alleviate the symptoms.
If soreness persists or it gets worse, call their orthodontist. It’s possible a wire may need to be trimmed, or a bracket replaced. Addressing such issues early can help keep your teen out of the orthodontist’s chair, and back in class.
Why Choose Prentice Orthodontics?
A perfect smile is good for their self-esteem and for their long-term health. Our office uses state-of-the-art equipment to ensure your teen receives the best possible care on their road to an ideal grin. We’re here for you every step along the way. Ready to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation today!