How to Keep Your Child’s Braces—and Room—Clean

Our Dental Blog | Child Dentistry, Dental Tips | 12.27.2021

Getting our children into the habit of cleaning their rooms—and keeping them that way for more than five minutes—is a character-building challenge that any parent can relate to. Getting them into the habit of helping out with household chores, more so, seems like a task that Hercules himself would shrug at and walk away from. If your little one remembers to feed the fish without a second, third, and fourth gentle nudge, you might have the key to a best-selling parenting book on your hands. But, for all of our nagging and their reluctant foot-dragging, kids actually like taking on responsibilities and thrive on the experience they gain from them.

Having responsibilities gives children purpose and makes them feel like they’re contributing members of their small communities, be it at home or at school. They relish the opportunity to tackle new challenges and look forward to overcoming them… even if it’s only so they can interrupt your conference call to show you an indecipherable painting that they claim is a spitting image of you.

Most of the time, the headache of getting our children to take on their chores more eagerly comes from simple miscommunication. Do they know why this chore is important and why it’s their responsibility to look after it? Are they aware of the rewards that await them after they’ve completed a task, or the consequences they’ll face if they don’t? Have they been educated on the best ways to complete a chore and encouraged to come up with their own innovations and improvement?

Helping your child to understand that their braces are one of these types of responsibilities, can lead to better results for their dental and oral health. After all, kids are self-conscious about their smiles—maybe even more so than adults—and they’ll relish the opportunity to make their smile something they can be proud of, braces and all.

With these tips from Treehouse Dental, your child’s braces will shine as brightly as their smile. Their room, on the other hand, well… that’s a different story.

After Every Meal. Deal?

Realistically, we could all benefit from showing our teeth a little TLC after every meal. But this is especially true for children with braces. Kids just aren’t as careful about simple things like chewing as adults are—they have far too much in their busy schedules and they’d rather just swallow that pot pie whole. This can lead to larger food particles getting lodged either in their braces or between their teeth and that just means more plaque and tartar build-up down the road.

It is absolutely possible to overbrush one’s teeth but rinsing the mouth out with water after every meal is perfectly harmless. Make this one of those post-meal rituals and communicate to your child how much nicer their smile looks after a thorough water bath.

Be Very, Very Specific

Most of the time, when we think that kids are distracted, it’s simply because they don’t know what they should be focused on. Sure, “Brush your teeth,” sounds descriptive enough to an adult but to a child, that could mean just about anything. Did they smear toothpaste on the mirror before you came in to check on them? They were brushing their teeth… or, at least, their reflection’s teeth. Same difference, right?

When educating your child about how to brush their teeth when they have braces is like educating them on any other task. Give them all of the details so they know exactly what you mean and have less room for, shall we call it, creative interpretation.

For kids with braces, brushing from every angle is crucial. Those wires and brackets create more surface area in their mouth and more places for little food particles to lodge themselves. Attacking, gently, from all sides will coax loose particles that would have escaped a simple frontal assault.

Give Them the Support They Need

Even though they grow up quickly, kids need our help to do so. We might ask them to make their bed every morning but we wouldn’t expect them to pick up new linens every couple of years. Similarly, our kids will only be too glad to take on the task of keeping their smile clean if they have the right tools to do it. Whether it’s their favourite flavour of mouthwash or the Elsa-branded floss, keep your child stocked up with the tools to get the job done. And, of course, always have a spare toothbrush for them ready to go. Kids with braces will go through toothbrushes at an accelerated rate and frayed brushes just won’t do the job right.

With these tips, your child is well on their way to a smile that’s all their own. And if you think that they’re ready to take on more responsibility, [reach out to us today] and ask if your child is eligible to graduate to Invisalign®, invisible aligners.

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