How to Help Your Child Learn to Brush and Floss with Braces

Many kids and teenagers get braces to correct a problem with the alignment of their teeth and jaw. Having braces creates new challenges, such as how to brush and floss effectively. Good oral hygiene is always important, but especially when a young person has braces because food particles can become trapped between brackets and wires. If those food particles are not removed, they can lead to cavities.

Brushing and flossing with braces can be tricky, but your child can master it with the right tools and some practice. Your child will need a soft-bristled toothbrush, a fluoride toothpaste, floss and a floss threader, and an oral irrigator.

How to Brush with Braces

Your child should remove any elastics from the braces before brushing to avoid snapping them. He or she should brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line with back and forth motions. Have your child gently brush the braces with enough pressure to get the bristles into spaces in the brackets and along the wires. After your child has brushed, he or she should check to make sure there are no food particles stuck in the braces. The process of brushing should take about two minutes.

How to Floss with Braces

The wires across your child’s teeth can make it more difficult to floss, but this is an important step that should not be skipped. Your child should put a piece of floss through a floss threader, which resembles the eye of a needle. The floss should be gently placed inside the wire and between the teeth and pushed and pulled to remove food particles and plaque. Your child should use a fresh piece of floss to clean between each tooth. If this is too difficult, your child can use interdental cleaning brushes or an oral irrigator to remove food particles from between teeth.

Schedule a Cleaning or an Orthodontic Evaluation for Your Child

You should continue to take your child to the dentist for regular exams and cleanings to check for cavities while he or she has braces. If your child does not yet have braces, you should schedule an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. If your child is due for an evaluation or a cleaning, make an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Should Your Child Have a Root Canal in a Baby Tooth?

A toothache can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, talk, and concentrate at school. Sometimes the pain is caused by damage to the root of a tooth. A root canal, or endodontic treatment, can restore a tooth if the nerve inside it has been damaged. This can allow the tooth to function normally without pain.

Why a Child Should Have a Root Canal in a Baby Tooth

Parents often wonder if a child should have a root canal if he or she has a problem with the root in a baby tooth. Since the baby tooth will fall out and be replaced by a permanent tooth, parents may question whether it is worth putting a child through a root canal procedure.

A child should undergo a root canal in a baby tooth with a damaged root for several reasons. Children lose their baby teeth at different times between the ages of 6 and 12 years. If your child is young and has pain in a baby tooth, it could be several years before the tooth is ready to fall out on its own. That could mean your child could be in chronic pain for a long time without a root canal. If your child has pain in a baby tooth, he or she could miss school and activities.

Your child may need a root canal if he or she complains of sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. It may hurt to chew or touch the tooth. The surrounding bone and gum tissue may be sensitive. Your child may experience chipping or cracking of the tooth or an abscess. The tooth may also have an abnormal color. Your child may not have any of these symptoms. This is why it is important to take your child to the dentist for regular dental exams.

If your child has pain in a baby tooth, a root canal can allow him or her to eat and talk normally and participate in school and other activities without pain. A root canal can prevent further damage to the tooth and the need for more dental work.

What Will Happen at the Dentist’s Office

Your pediatric dentist will take x-rays to see the extent of the damage to your child’s tooth. If there is a small amount of decay, it may be possible to use a pulpotomy, or indirect pulp treatment. If the damage is more severe, a root canal may be necessary. A filling or crown will be placed on top of the tooth to protect it.

Schedule an Appointment for Your Child at CT Pediatric Dentistry

If your child is complaining of a toothache, you should take him or her to a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will take x-rays to find the source of the pain and recommend the right treatment, which may include a root canal. If your child is in pain, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

How to Help Your Child Prepare to Get Braces

Many children and teens need to get braces to straighten their teeth. While kids generally want to have a straight smile, they are often nervous when they are getting ready to have braces put on their teeth. There are some things you can do to put your child at ease and help him or her prepare for the visit with the orthodontist.

Make Sure Your Child Understands What Is Going to Happen

Encourage your child to ask the orthodontist questions. The orthodontist should explain the process of putting braces on teeth. Your child should understand the type of braces he or she is getting. Some braces are bonded to the front of teeth, some are bonded to the back, and some have metal bands that wrap around the teeth. The type of braces the orthodontist recommends will depend on the condition of your child’s teeth and jaw. Make sure your child understands how to care for the type of braces he or she is getting.

Schedule a Cleaning Before You Take Your Child to the Orthodontist

Your child’s teeth will need to be clean so the braces can be attached properly. Schedule an appointment for a cleaning shortly before the appointment to have the braces put on. Make sure your child brushes and flosses before you leave home to go to the orthodontist’s office. That way there will be no food particles or plaque getting in the way of the braces.

Help Your Child Deal with Pain

Your child will probably experience some discomfort after getting braces. This is normal and should be expected. Make sure you have soft foods available for your child to eat for a few days. Bananas, pasta, and soup are good choices for the days after getting braces. Your child can take over-the-counter pain medication if needed. Make sure he or she takes it according to the directions on the label. The discomfort should go away after a few days. If it does not, call your orthodontist.

Braces sometimes cause sores inside the mouth. Talk to your child about this possibility and ask the orthodontist what your child can do to deal with that if it happens.

Schedule an Appointment for an Orthodontic Evaluation

If you believe your child may need braces now or in the future, you should schedule an orthodontic evaluation. Dentists and orthodontists recommend that children have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. If your child has not yet had an orthodontic evaluation, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry.

How Much Juice Is Too Much for a Child?

Most children enjoy drinking juice, and many parents consider it a healthy beverage that is good for a child’s health. However, too much juice can cause problems, including cavities, poor nutrition, and digestive issues.

How Much Juice Should a Child Drink?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents and caregivers not give juice to children under the age of 6 months. Infants over the age of 6 months can be given small amounts of juice. A child between the ages of 1 and 6 years should only drink a maximum of 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day. Older children can have 8 to 12 ounces of juice per day.

Potential Problems with Too Much Juice

One of the main problems with juice is that it contains large amounts of sugar. If a child is given juice in a bottle or sippy cup and drinks it over a long period of time, the child’s teeth will be continuously exposed to sugar. That can lead to a condition called baby bottle tooth decay. When you introduce juice to your child, give it in a cup, not a bottle. It is better to give your child juice with meals, when his or her mouth will produce more saliva to wash away the sugar. If your child needs a bottle or sippy cup to fall asleep, fill it with water.

Another problem with giving a child too much juice is that it can fill up the child and make him or her less likely to eat nutritious foods. A child who drinks a lot of juice will get too many calories from sugars and carbohydrates and not enough protein. If your child drinks a lot of juice, he or she is probably not drinking enough milk and getting enough calcium.

Too much juice can also contribute to gastrointestinal problems. Children who drink too much juice can suffer from diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Should You Give Your Child Juice?

If your child doesn’t like to eat fruit, giving him or her juice can be a good way to make sure he or she gets enough servings of fruit. Just don’t overdo it. Make sure your child eats a healthy, balanced diet and drinks plenty of milk to get enough calcium. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup filled with juice. Be sure to brush your child’s teeth to prevent cavities.

Take Your Child to a Pediatric Dentist

All children should visit a pediatric dentist by the age of 1. The dentist will check your child’s teeth for signs of cavities and will discuss your child’s nutrition. The visit will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions about your child’s health. If your child is due for a dental exam, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry.

Are You Setting a Good Example for Your Child When It Comes to Oral Health?

As a parent, you want your child to be as healthy as possible and also to be happy. Often children do not understand what is in their best interest and want to do things that will make them happy at the time. Kids need help and guidance from their parents to learn to make healthy choices.

Children learn many of their behaviors from their parents. In order for your child to have healthy teeth and gums, you need to make oral health a priority and set a good example. If your child sees you engaging in healthy habits, he or she will want to follow suit. If your child sees that you are not serious about taking care of your teeth, he or she won’t take it seriously either.

Eat Healthy Foods

Sugary snacks and desserts are delicious, but they can lead to cavities, which can be painful. A cavity can lead to the need for a filling or even an extraction. Tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem affecting young children. You can reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities by offering healthy snacks and eating them yourself. If your child sees you choosing fruit as a snack instead of cookies, he or she will be more inclined to eat healthy foods, too.

Brush and Floss Together

Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day, but many people fall short. Your child will learn how and how long to brush and floss by watching you. If you go to bed without brushing your teeth or only do a quick brushing that doesn’t get your teeth clean, your child will not devote much time and energy to brushing either. If you brush for two minutes and encourage your child to brush with you, it can be a fun game.

Go to the Dentist for Exams and Cleanings

Regular visits to the dentist for exams and cleanings are necessary for good oral health. Many people dislike visiting the dentist and avoid going unless they are in pain. If your child sees that you don’t like to go to the dentist, he or she won’t want to go either. If your child knows that going to the dentist is a regular part of your routine and you characterize it as a positive experience, your child will feel the same way.

Parents are the most important role models in their children’s lives. You can set a good example for your child by eating healthy foods, brushing and flossing every day, and going to the dentist for exams and cleanings. The habits you teach your child at a young age will set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. If your child is due for an exam or cleaning, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry.

12 Sep 2016 04:27 PM