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If Your Child Wears a Dental Appliance

Dental appliances to correct badly aligned teeth come in two types. 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.

Fixed appliances, known as braces, attach directly to the teeth. Because of that, food is especially likely to collect around braces.

image - teen with braces

Either type of appliance makes good oral hygiene — keeping teeth and gums clean — a must. That’s because the sticky plaque that forms on these appliances can cause tooth decay or deposit a permanent stain. 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.

While wearing a dental appliance, your child should avoid foods that could disturb the braces or bend the wires. No-no’s typically include:

  • Nuts

  • Popcorn

  • Hard candy

  • Ice

  • Sticky foods such as gum, caramel, and chewy candy

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.

“Braces." Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/braces Accessed 2013.

“Malocclusion of Teeth.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2012. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001058.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Guideline on Management of the Developing Dentition and Occlusion in Pediatric Dentistry." American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_DevelopDentition.pdf Accessed 2013.

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