Getting kids to take proper care of their teeth is difficult enough on its own. When you add braces into the mix, the likelihood of tooth decay can skyrocket. Fortunately, you and your children can both learn some helpful tips and facts that will help care for braces and prevent tooth decay.

While a child’s smile is still developing, it’s important to know exactly how braces affect oral hygiene and how to prevent disease and damage. The habits your children learn know can stick with them long after they’ve had their braces removed, giving them beautiful, healthy smiles that last forever.

The Causes of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. Our mouths are filled with bacteria that help us breakdown food and drinks by producing acids. Although they aid our digestion, these acids also attack the protective coating on teeth called enamel.

White spots that form on teeth may look like bleach stains, and they’re a sign of tooth decay that results from acids eating away at the minerals in teeth.

Demineralization weakens teeth over time, making them more susceptible to decay and cavities. Without proper treatment, cavities reach lower into the tooth, eventually reaching the root. This can cause a host of painful problems including infection and abscesses.

How Can Braces Help Prevent Tooth Decay?

Crooked, crowded teeth can lead to greater difficulty chewing, speaking and weakened enamel. Greater strain is placed on the jaw when trying to consume foods with unstraightened teeth, and it’s possible for adults and children alike to miss bits of food left behind when their teeth aren’t easy to clean between.

Braces use steady pressure to align teeth and create healthy space in the mouth, leaving optimal room for chewing and cleaning. Straighter teeth are easier to brush, floss and put less of a strain on the jaw.

Keeping Braces Clean

Having braces can make oral hygiene more of a challenge, but the right tools and a good routine can make a world of difference. First and foremost, always rinse before brushing. This will loosen any food left behind after a meal. Then, brush for at least two minutes at a 45-degree angle, moving gently and vertically along each bracket.

Follow up with a floss threader, which makes it easier to clean teeth and remove food that can get stuck in braces wires. A good mouthwash is the best way to finish any cleaning, especially one that offers additional protection against germs and enamel-dissolving bacteria.