How should my child care for their teeth now that they have braces?


When you get braces for your child, you are investing in their future. It is important that you and child understand how to properly care for teeth with braces to protect that investment in your child’s smile. Let’s look at 5 tips to caring for teeth that have braces.


Flossing with braces does take a little more time, but flossing is incredibly important for the long term health of teeth and gums, so it should not be overlooked. Follow these steps to achieve great dental health:

  1. Slide the floss up under the wire.
  2. Gently work the floss into the gum line on either side of the tooth.
  3. Repeat for each tooth.
  4. With a little practice, flossing with braces will get faster and easier.


      When we brush without braces, we usually use a combination of up down and back and forth to clean the whole tooth. With braces, we should maintain an up down motion:

      1. Down from the top and then
      2. Up from the bottom
      3. This helps work the bristles under the wire. Next, use your proxabrush or “Christmas tree” brush, so named because it is shaped like a pine tree, to clean under the wires.

      4. Insert down from the top of the wire, between two brackets. 
      5. Brush several times before moving on.
      6. Insert from under the wire and repeat.
      7. Repeat the brushing and proxabrush regimen after every meal.


      While wearing braces, avoid:

      1. Tough foods like apples, bagels, corn on the cob, or not so tender pieces of meat.
      2. Chewy foods, like taffy or caramel
      3. Hard food like pretzels, popcorn, nuts, carrots, ice (chewing)
      4. Gum
      5. These foods can get lodged in your child’s braces and even break brackets and snap wires.

      Playing Sports

      If your child loves sports, don’t let braces sideline their activities. The best safeguard is to purchase a mouth guard specifically designed for braces. You’ll avoid serious injury if your child is hit in the mouth.

      If you would like to know more, contact Dr. Jon D. Smith.He has earned a reputation as being one of the premier cosmetic and restorative dentists in Lexington, SC. His commitment to excellence and friendly, personal character makes patients feel comfortable and confident in the care they receive. 

4 Reasons to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Woman smiling

When you think of dental problems, you may think of cavities, broken crowns, wisdom teeth pain, and other common issues. However, one of the most serious, yet still common, dental issues many patients face is something much less dramatic—teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth is not just a bad habit and a much bigger deal than you may think.

Here’s 4 Reasons You Should Stop Grinding Your Teeth:

• Grinding Can Damage the Tooth’s Enamel –

Your teeth are covered in a hard substance called enamel. Enamel is designed for durability during normal eating and drinking. However, when you are grinding your teeth (whether at night or during the day), you are damaging the enamel. It is impossible to build that enamel back up, and you could face more serious tooth problems in the future.

• Grinding May Cause Headaches and Neck Aches –

Do you seem to have many unexplained headaches? It could be that grinding your teeth is causing stress and tension in your head and neck that cause this pain. Your teeth and mouth need to relax, especially at night. If you are a teeth grinder, this isn’t happening for you. Stopping the grinding before your pain gets out of control is vital.

• Grinding Can Lead to TMJ Disorders –

TMJ is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. It causes severe pain and even leads to fatigue. While there are still studies out about whether tooth grinding is a cause of TMJ or not, it certainly does not help matters for people who are already experiencing the pain or who are prone to this pain. Talk to your dentist about whether grinding could be making your pain worse.

• There Are Simple Ways to Stop Grinding –

Your dentist has many ideas and solutions to help you stop grinding your teeth. This is a dental problem that is easy enough to resolve if you are proactive. Don’t wait another day to get started.

As you can see, it is important to stop grinding your teeth as soon as possible. If you or a loved one are struggling with this, your dentist can be a great resource. Contact us at Dr. Jon D. Smith Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry today to discuss teeth grinding with one of our specialists.

At What Age Should My Child First See The Dentist?

Toddler with Toothbrush

Great Dental Care Habits Start Early!

When a baby gets her teeth, it isn’t always a pleasant experience for the parents or the child. It’s exciting to know that it won’t be long until your baby can eat solid foods, but the sleepless nights getting to this point aren’t pleasant. It also causes parents to wonder when it’s time for their child to visit the dentist for the first time, especially with so many varying opinions.

First Tooth

Generally, the first tooth erupts around six months, sometimes later and sometimes earlier. It’s important for parents to realize that it’s necessary to take care of these teeth just as you would adult, or secondary teeth. Practicing good dental hygienics early helps to develop a routine for the child to utilize for the rest of her life when it comes to her oral health. However, parents oftentimes feel that the first set of teeth isn’t important because another group will pop through later.

Professional Recommendation

Despite many pediatricians informing parents that they don’t need to take their child to see the dentist until 2.5 years, this isn’t what leading organizations in pediatric health advise. If you’re wondering the answer to the question, “when should my child first see the dentist,” you might be shocked to realize that as soon as your baby gets a tooth, you should be scheduling your first appointment. This allows the dentist to evaluate if the tooth is coming in properly. He will also be able to recommend the best products for children and help you to devise a course of action to keep your child’s teeth healthy. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that you should not take your kid to the dentist for her first visit any later than a year. After the first checkup, the child will need to visit the dentist once every six months for a cleaning and checkup.

Importance of Early Dental Checkups

Children should see the dentist this early because when issues arise with the primary teeth, it may affect the second set, too. In addition, babies need to see the dentist this early for the following reasons:

  • Can identify and correct problems with teeth that may affect chewing
  • Helps to prevent issues with speech development early on
  • Promotes a healthy smile early on
  • Can detect genetic and other problems sooner
  • Prevents issues with space for permanent teeth
  • Helps parents learn good habits for taking care of the baby’s teeth

Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth

Before your child’s first tooth appears, you should be cleaning her gums with a warm, wet washcloth. This gets her used to something in her mouth while also getting rid of any milk residue that can affect the gums. After the first tooth emerges, it’s important to find a toothbrush meant for children of that age along with a training, or non-fluoride, toothpaste. Brush her teeth at least twice per day. Clean her gums where there aren’t teeth as well. As soon as she gets her second tooth, you should begin flossing.

Developing and encouraging good dental habits early along with regular visits to the visit can prevent many oral health issues. It also creates for life-long habits that can prevent gum disease and other serious dental conditions. Dr. Jon D. Smith specializes in quality dental care for smiles of all ages; learn all about our services!

Manual or Electric: Which Type of Toothbrush is Better?

Types of Toothbrushes

Find the Right Brush for Your Teeth!

This debate between manual or electric toothbrushes has become as popular of a debate as boxers versus briefs. You may try to save money by using a standard manual toothbrush, but in the long run, you may be shorting yourself of the benefits of an electric toothbrush.

Cleans Better

An electric toothbrush, whether battery-operated or rechargeable, cleans your teeth better than a manual toothbrush. It reaches in places you might not be able to reach or don’t try to. It massages the gums with a continual force, which as you may know, helps remove plaque within the gums. An electric toothbrush prevents against gingivitis better than a manual brush.

Less Work

Your arm won’t get nearly as tired with an electric toothbrush. This means that you’ll brush effectively the entire time as opposed to with a manual brush that takes more work.

Easier on Your Hands

Those with arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints will be able to brush adequately without any pain. Plus, if you’re trimming down the time you spend brushing because of RA, an electric toothbrush will allow you to clean thoroughly your teeth for the proper amount of time.

Can Time It

It’s recommended that a person brush his or her teeth for at least two minutes per session twice per day. If you’re using a manual, you don’t have the option to use a built-in timer, so you may need to use a timer or just guess. And is it really worth it to guess with your oral health?

More Choices

Although you can choose the color and the bristle type of a manual toothbrush, an electronic one comes with more choices. An electric toothbrush allows you to choose whether you want a battery-operated one or one that’s rechargeable. You can choose the brush type and the color. You even can opt for ones with different settings or speeds. The best one to have is one that’s a rotating-oscillating one. Sometimes, they have special features like a timer that help you to know you’re meeting the recommended guidelines for brushing.

More Fun for Kids

Not all kids enjoy brushing their teeth. In fact, sometimes the process ends up in tears for both the parents and the children. However, an electric toothbrush feels better and is more fun. You can even buy ones that play music or light up.

Without great brushing habits, the best toothbrush in the world won’t help you maintain your dental health. Dr. Jon D. Smith Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry is here to help you keep your smile perfect and healthy.