(NewsUSA) - Teenagers love things that are shiny and new -- unless those things happen to be attached to their teeth. But with proper care and technique, your teen may eventually learn to love their newest physical trait.
Braces have become commonplace in many families -- approximately 4 million people receive orthodontic care in the U.S. each year. Most people undergo orthodontic treatment during adolescent and teenage years, when the permanent teeth have come in and treatment can be most effective.
Yet, as many parents already know, getting teenagers to adhere to a cleaning routine can be tricky. For parents and teens who want to keep the cleanest teeth with braces, follow these tips:
* Brush, brush, brush, brush. Most dentists recommend brushing twice a day if you don't have braces. That doubles for people with braces. Clean teeth at least four times a day with a soft, rounded-bristle manual or electric toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to follow the orthodontist's instructions on how to properly brush with braces.
* Purchase a travel toothbrush. It's difficult to brush your teeth four times a day when you're away from home most of the day. Teenagers have busy schedules, so they should always be prepared. Travel toothbrushes will allow your teens to brush their teeth and braces anytime throughout the day.
* Get in between teeth. Brushing alone will not remove all of the plaque. Floss between teeth, around brackets and at the gumline at least once every day. Floss threaders help maneuver dental floss between wires, brackets and teeth and can be easily obtained through your orthodontist.
* Use oral care probiotics. Teens may not always comply with a strict oral hygiene routine, so an oral care probiotic, like EvoraPlus (www.myevoraplus.com), might help. Oral care probiotics work by flooding the mouth with beneficial bacteria, which adhere to tooth surfaces, including pits and fissures in the chewing surfaces and those tooth surfaces under orthodontic appliances, and around and under the gum line, leaving less room for harmful bacteria to grow. They can reach areas that brushing and flossing miss.
* Get professional cleanings. If a teen is forgetful, regular teeth cleanings might be a helpful reminder. A dentist can quickly point out and remind a teenager where they might be falling short in their oral-hygiene and brace-care routine.