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Brace Yourself! 2 Things You Need To Know About Your Child's Braces And Proper Dental Care

Does your child currently suffer from a dental condition known as malocclusion? Malocclusion is a condition in which the teeth are crooked. The top teeth tend to overlap the bottom teeth, which can make proper chewing difficult. Typically, orthodontists treat the problem with braces. If you opt for your child to receive braces, there are a couple of things you need to know about proper dental care.

Problems Fixed by Braces

Malocclusion is a condition that requires proper treatment. It is said that the condition is often a secondary cause of bruxism, which a term used to describe teeth grinding. Although primary factors include stress and anxiety, malocclusion may still aid in the development of bruxism. For that reason, it is important to ensure your child receives proper dental care to straighten the teeth.

A recent report suggests that approximately 35% of 12-year-olds and an estimated 28% of 15-year-olds are so embarrassed by their teeth that they are afraid to smile or laugh. Crooked teeth or an overbite may serve as a source of embarrassment. Fortunately, orthodontists can realign your child's teeth, therefore giving them a reason to smile again.

When malocclusion causes either an underbite or an overbite, the jaw often does not align properly. A misaligned jaw and teeth can make eating a chore. If the teeth do not align properly, then the molars are unable to break up food evenly and comfortably. Fortunately, braces can help realign both the jaw and the teeth, thereby allowing your child to chew their food and enjoy it.

Encouraging Proper Cleaning

An orthodontist will typically send your child home with a kit containing floss and perhaps even a toothbrush. The orthodontist will also typically provide instructions for proper care of your child's braces, including instructions on how to clean and floss the teeth. However, studies suggest that almost 80% of individuals skip flossing.

However, flossing plays an important role in the health of your child's teeth. Although brushing is an important part of daily dental care, you may miss approximately 40% of surface cleaning if you fail to floss. Therefore, it is important that you encourage and even assist your child with flossing.

Some of the best ways to ensure your child flosses is to make it a part of their daily regimen. For younger children, try flossing in the bathroom with them. Children often do as they see. If your child sees you flossing, they will be more likely to do the same and take better care of their teeth and their new braces.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

When your child first receives his or her braces, there may be slight pain or discomfort. Aside from treating the pain and discomfort with pain medication, there are a few other options you may not be aware of. For starters, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of lukewarm water. Have your child swish and gargle the water for a minute or two. Make sure they spit the salt water out rather than swallowing it.

Adapt your child's diet to soft foods only, at least until the soreness from the braces wears off. Soft foods are far easier for your child to handle and put less strain on the new braces. Your child's teeth need time to adjust to the braces and soft foods can allow them to do just that. If pain and discomfort persists, speak to your child's orthodontist about the use of a special wax coating that can be applied to the metal wires to prevent them from chafing.

In truth, it will take your child time to adjust to having braces. Once the adjustment period is over, your child will be well on their way toward a healthier, more aesthetically pleasing smile. If you end up having any questions or concerns regarding the proper care for your child's braces, do not hesitate to contact the orthodontist for help.