Braces headgear will give your child a straight smile, but they need to know how to properly take care of it to see maximum benefits.
Getting braces headgear is never a pleasant experience for any child. Besides feeling self-conscious about the appliance, your child must clean their teeth properly when wearing the headgear. Admittedly, maintaining oral hygiene isn’t an easy task with headgear. But with time and patience, your child will realize that wearing headgear doesn’t have to affect their teeth cleaning at all.
Helping your child learn how to clean their teeth while wearing headgear will prevent tooth decay and make the orthodontic treatment more effective. Fortunately, we have some practical tips you can give your child to make teeth cleaning while wearing orthodontic headgear easier.
Why your child may need orthodontic headgear
Headgear is usually recommended for a significant malocclusion, or a severe misalignment between the upper and lower jaw. Headgear is also used to correct the overcrowding of teeth. Boston Children’s Hospital estimates roughly 90 percent of school-age children have a malocclusion. However, only 10 percent to 15 percent require orthodontic treatment.
The appliance works best when fitted to young children, as jaws are still growing, and the bones are more malleable and can be molded into the proper position. The headgear must be worn for 12 to 14 hours daily for one to two years. The headgear also comes in different types depending on the condition that needs to be corrected.
Teaching your child to clean the headgear
Understandably, your child may be reluctant to put on the headgear. The appliance can be clunky, sometimes painful, and make them shy away from social interactions with other children. If your child feels self-conscious, they can wear the headgear after school and through the night. They can also take off the headgear while eating and drink through a straw while wearing it. Remember to teach your child how to carefully remove the headgear so as not to damage it. Your orthodontist can provide you with instructions and tips.
Help your child understand this is temporary and will give them a beautiful smile when the treatment is done. Not wearing the headgear for the recommended duration will only make the treatment longer. It’s also important to teach them how to clean their headgear. Proper cleaning with the tips below will keep the device in good shape and shorten the treatment time:
Brush daily. A straight smile is great, but so are healthy teeth! Brushing daily will free your child’s teeth from bacteria and plaque that can get stuck in the wires. Buy your child a soft-bristled toothbrush and have them brush every tooth with a downward stroke from the gums to the brackets. Get them into the habit of brushing after every meal and snack.
Use dental products. Flossing is more difficult with braces headgear, but it can be accomplished using various dental products. A floss threader or an interdental toothbrush with a rounded head fits between teeth to remove food particles. You can also try a water irrigator.
Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash after brushing packs extra cleaning power. It can prevent cavities and the white spots that sometimes develop when wearing braces. Your dentist can give you a prescription for fluoride mouthwash.
Clean headgear nightly. To keep the appliance clean, wash its hard surfaces each night with warm water and mild soap, and rinse thoroughly. Wash the soft pads or straps every few days in mild detergent and warm water. The pads and straps must be dry before putting the headgear on again.
Time for braces?
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists and orthodontist can fit your child with braces and help them through every step of the orthodontic process, so they’ll have a great smile! Don’t live near our Colorado Springs office? Find one of our other locations near you.
8610 Explorer Drive #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920