Some Tips To Help Children With Palate Expanders Maintain Oral Hygiene


Children with upper jaw deformity, missing teeth or breathing problems due to misalignment of the jaw are advised the jaw expansion treatment. The jaw expansion is done using an orthodontic device known as the palate expander.

The palate expander is known by many names such as the mouth expander, jaw expander, orthodontic expander etc. The device widens the roof of the mouth by pushing the jaw bones and creating space for new bone growth. The expanders are generally fixed at a young age, ideally between 7 to 16 years. The treatment is effective and can be done quickly at this age as the palate does not fuse and is easier to adjust.

The mouth expander extends the jaw and makes room for the teeth to be spaced properly. It corrects many problems such as crossbite, breathing difficulties and crowded teeth. However, having a palate expander in the mouth causes some discomfort to the child. It may also lead to tooth decay, if proper oral hygiene is not followed. I have compiled some tips to keep the expander as well as the mouth clean.

  1. Though brushing teeth may cause pain and discomfort in the initial few weeks, it is very important to clean teeth and gums daily to prevent tooth decay.
  2. Unhealthy mouth can caused the gums to swollen and infected. Puffy and un-brushed gums will grow over the bands and make the process of jaw expansion and teeth movement lengthy.
  3. Follow the directions given by your orthodontist about cleaning your mouth, while the expander is in place.
  4. Do not forget to clean the expander after eating food. Food particles may get trapped inside the expander and cause dental problems, if it is not cleaned properly after every meal. Removable expanders can be removed before eating food, but care has to be taken about the fixed expanders. The orthodontist will guide you about the process of cleaning the mouth expander after eating.
  5. It is advisable to refrain from eating food that is sticky, chewy or hard to swallow. Avoid foods such as nuts and ice that may increase the discomfort in the jaw. If the child experiences difficulty in swallowing, cut food into small pieces.

Following these tips will help the child to get used to the mouth expander quickly and to maintain a clean and hygienic mouth.

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