Educational guide

How to support your child on their journey to straight and aligned teeth?

Let’s find out what to expect, and how to support your kid’s dental-care routine during their orthodontic treatment.

For kids, starting to wear braces is like setting out on a journey: new things will be happening in their mouth, and doubts and questions will be popping up. But luckily, they can have their parents at their side to guide them. Are you ready to encourage them during their travels? 

Let’s learn together the basics of kids’ orthodontics, and how you can support them in a very important task during the orthodontic treatment: keeping their teeth healthy.

What exactly is an orthodontic treatment?

When the time comes to straighten and move teeth into the right place, orthodontic devices are needed. Braces are the most well-known of these devices, but they are not the only ones. Orthodontic appliances can be fixed or removable; some are used to move jaw malpositions; some are used to control bad habits such as thumb sucking; others are applied in order to keep space for a permanent tooth to come in.

All devices should be worn for a certain amount of months or years, according to what is advised by your orthodontist. Often there won’t be just one plan on the table – different orthodontic treatments could lead to different levels of benefits, so it’s important to discuss everything with the orthodontist and decide together with your child. Regular check-ups with the orthodontist (often on a monthly basis) are also necessary in order to observe the progress and adjust the treatment if needed.

When is the right time for my child to visit an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are specialised dentists with an important role to play: they help your child have aligned teeth, making their future oral care easier and preventing any future issues with speech, bite or chewing. Check-ups by paediatric orthodontists should usually happen when your kid is aged between 8 and 14: this is the time when children lose most of their milk teeth, and when their permanent teeth appear.

“An orthodontic checkup is also recommended if you notice that your child is having issues in chewing or biting, impediments in speech, or if they tend to breathe from their mouth.”

After a routine visit, your family dentist might suggest you fix an appointment with a specialist for your child. An orthodontist is responsible for the detection, prevention and treatment of tooth and jaw misalignments. Although it is often seen just as an aesthetic treatment, orthodontic treatment is actually much more than that – it brings many important benefits for your child’s long-term dental health and also their overall health. If malocclusions (crooked teeth or a “poor bite”) are not treated professionally, this can lead to further damage or even loss of teeth.

An orthodontic checkup can also be recommended if you notice that your child is having issues in chewing or biting, impediments in speech, or if they tend to breathe from their mouth. Grinding or clenching teeth is also a good reason to go and see an orthodontist.

How can an orthodontist help your child?

Having properly aligned teeth and jaws – what is nicely called “a beautiful smile” – is one of the pillars of oral health and overall wellbeing. Crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, can wear down unevenly and more easily, and cause gums to have higher chances of developing disease. Which is why orthodontic treatment may help your child to avoid more complex dental issues in future – and also may well cost less than any eventual restorative treatments they’d likely need.

But it’s not only about oral health. There are other functions linked to having a “good bite”: biting and chewing correctly, which affects overall nutrition; articulating properly, which means clarity in speech; and a correct development of the face and the posture.

How do straight teeth impact a child’s well-being?

🦷 Prevent morecomplex dental issues, particularly in the long-term

🦷 Enable more precise cleaning which helps achieve better oral health

🦷 Clarity in speech

🦷 Improve a child’s self-confidence

🦷 Ensure correct biting and chewing

🦷 Correct development of face and posture 

A good oral-care routine is crucial when your child is wearing braces

During orthodontic treatment, one thing you can really support your children with is their oral-care routine. In fact, good cleaning habits and thorough oral hygiene really helps in minimising the time your child has to wear braces, plus it contributes to healthier results – it’s important that both you and your child are aware of that at all times.

Before applying braces, it is advisable to go for a professional cleaning – check the best time to do so with your orthodontist. In the ideal scenario, your child should visit the dental hygienist a couple of months before treatment starts in order to be instructed on the proper cleaning techniques and instruments they’ll need. This makes it less overwhelming, as there will be so many other changes happening once the braces are applied.

The day your child gets their braces – and onwards – their teeth must be really clean. Make sure they brush with both regular and interdental brushes thoroughly after eating.

During the treatment period, maintaining good oral hygiene can be a bit harder than usual: there are a lot of new nooks and crannies in the mouth now, which become ideal spots for tiny bits of food and bacteria to get stuck in. You can also support your child in taking care of their mouth by leading by example, i.e. always brushing twice a day yourself, and making sure your children know that this is a general rule for all family members.

To summarise the most important parts, here’s a little cheat-sheet for the optimal cleaning routine for kids wearing braces:

  • A thorough overall clean. Using a kids toothbrush, like the Curaprox Kids brushes, can win the attention of your child – and the brush head with 5,500
    super-soft filaments help
    s to effectively clean with minimal effort. If your child enjoys the way it works and feels, using an electric toothbrush like the Curaprox flagship brush Hydrosonic Pro can be another exciting option!
  • Keep tight spaces clean. Interdental brushes finish the daily job by cleaning the spaces inaccessible to toothbrushes: they can be used for interdental spaces, and inner and outer wires. Always keep in mind the 70/30 rule with a toothbrush, you are only able to cover 70% of your teeth’s surface. By cleaning with interdental brushes, you can effectively cover the remaining 30%. Interdental brushes are not just a nice add-on, but are an integral part of successful oral hygiene.
  • Precision is key. A single-tuft brush, like the manual Curaprox single toothbrush CS 1006, can help your child with precision cleaning on and around the wires and brackets. If your child prefers an electric toothbrush, there is also a Single brush head for precise cleaning with the Hydrosonic Pro.
  • A great help in motivating your kids to brush regularly is to offer some variety when it comes to their toothpaste. For smaller kids, there is a whole range of Kids toothpastes with various levels of fluoride and refreshing flavours. For older kids, you can try the Be you toothpastes that come in many interesting flavours and exciting bright colourful tubes. Remember especially when cleaning teeth with orthodontic appliances, it is necessary to choose a toothpaste without aggressive surfactants.
  • The Curaprox Ortho kit gives you everything you need to keep a mouth with braces fresh and clean. For travel, it also includes a practical Pocket set to keep your child’s teeth clean at all times with no hassle.