If Your Child Wears a Dental Appliance
Dental appliances to correct badly aligned teeth come in two types.1 Removable appliances made of wires and plastic can be taken out of the mouth. These may fit the upper and lower teeth at the same time. Compared to fixed appliances, they’re much easier to keep clean.3
Fixed appliances, known as braces, attach directly to the teeth. Because of that, food is especially likely to collect around braces.2
Either type of appliance makes good oral hygiene—keeping teeth and gums clean—a must.1 That’s because the sticky plaque that forms on these appliances can cause tooth decay or deposit a permanent stain.2 Encourage your child to brush regularly, as directed by the dentist, and floss daily. Your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments to help prevent cavities aournd the braces. Schedule regular dentist visits.1
While wearing a dental appliance, your child should avoid foods that could disturb the braces or bend the wires. No-no’s typically include:
Here’s some good news. Children who wear braces can play most sports, especially if they wear a protective mouth guard. And, if your child’s willing to put in some extra practice, he can go right on playing a wind or brass instrument.1
1 “Braces and Orthodontics. Frequently Asked Questions.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2598.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.
2 “Malocclusion of Teeth.” Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, May 28, 2008. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/print/ency/article/001058.htm Accessed 2010.
3 “What Is Malocclusion?”American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/maloccl.asp Accessed 2010.