Oral Hygiene and Braces: What Your Child Needs to Know About Keeping Them Clean

Posted on: 14 September 2016

New braces take a bit of getting used to. When your child first gets braces, it's important that they quickly get used to cleaning them properly, which requires a different approach than cleaning teeth without braces. Orthodontics can be a significant investment and you need to ensure that your child does everything they can to keep their teeth clean and healthy while the braces work their magic. So what are some things that your child needs to learn when it comes to keeping their teeth clean while wearing braces?


It's very easy for food to become trapped behind the archwire or to attach to the brackets that are pressed against the teeth. It's almost as if these brackets create pockets for food to be deposited into! While a conventional toothbrush can still be sufficient when your child cleans their teeth, it's not always enough (especially if your child is not particularly thorough when they brush). Consider getting your child an adjustable electric toothbrush. When used at a lower setting (generally designed for sensitive teeth), the brush head spins at a lower speed. This allows the bristles to catch and remove any debris that might be caught behind the brackets instead of merely buffing against it.


Flossing can be difficult with braces and conventional dental floss can almost be impossible to use. Obtain a floss threader, which is a small, narrow, rigid piece of plastic. A small length of dental floss is looped into the threader, making it look like a tiny noose. The loop of floss can then be angled under the archwire and around the tooth, making it possible to floss. This can be rather time consuming, so you could also invest in a water flosser, which directs a jet of water between the teeth to dislodge any food debris. It will also remove debris caught on or behind the brackets.


It's important to teach your children to rinse thoroughly after each time they eat. This minimises the possibility of any food debris being trapped in their braces. It's an important habit to get into, and yet it might not be possible for them to use a sink to rinse their mouth each and every time they eat. Try to get them to always carry a bottle of water. If there are no convenient bathroom facilities, they can simply swirl a mouthful of water and then swallow. A small travel size bottle of mouthwash can also work (and is easy to carry in their pocket), but this requires a rinse and spit.

So while it's not too complicated for your child to keep their braces clean, it's something that they need to quickly get used to so that their teeth remain healthy and strong.