It's quite common for dentists to refer their young patients to an orthodontist, which is not necessarily an indication that something might be wrong. It can just be beneficial for a child's dental health to be examined by an early orthodontist, if only to confirm that their permanent teeth are emerging in a symmetrical manner. It might be recommended that your child is a candidate for early orthodontics, and it could be that your child needs braces from a relatively young age. Some orthodontists opt to install braces while a child's teeth (and jaw and skull) are still developing, since your child's mouth can be more responsive to the process at this stage of their physical development. Everyone who receives braces needs to learn how to work with them when it comes to keeping their teeth clean, but young children are particularly going to need some extra assistance from you.
The Importance of Rinsing
Rinse, rinse and rinse again—this is one of the most important lessons for someone with braces. Teach your child to rinse their mouth out after each meal, and ideally after each snack. It's not complicated. All that's needed is to swirl some water in the mouth, and then spit it out. It will quickly become a habit for your child, but you also need to ensure that this rinsing takes place even when your child is not under your direct supervision:
- It can be smart to ask the staff at your child's school or daycare centre to remind your child to do this.
- The same goes if your child has a sleepover—ask their friend's parents to remind your child to rinse after eating.
Without this, any trapped food will simply be further mashed into their braces when they brush.
The Best Way to Brush and Floss
It's not so easy to brush your teeth when you have braces. In order to teach your child the best way to do this, you need to learn about it for yourself. It's generally just about angling the brush to clean around the braces before cleaning the braces themselves, which is necessary since oral bacteria can easily accumulate here. It will take some time for your child to learn the best method, and you might want to supervise their brushing at first just to make sure that they do a thorough job. In addition to brushing, your child needs to learn how to floss around their braces. Again, you will need to learn these methods yourself and assist your child. With particularly young children, you might even need to take care of their flossing yourself, if only at first.
Young children might need a fair amount of help to keep their teeth clean when they have braces, but it's something that they (and you) will quickly learn.