There are many reasons for children to get braces, including to fix overcrowded or overlapping teeth, a misaligned bite, or to straighten crooked teeth. Today's braces are more comfortable and less noticeable than those of the past, and can give your child more confidence and even prevent future orthodontic issues. While braces have many benefits, they can also take some getting used to. Here are a few practical ways to help your child adjust to their new braces:
Help Make Adjustments to Their Diet
Your child will have to make certain adjustments to their diet in order to accommodate their new braces. This will be easier if you make changes on your end as well, for example by eliminating certain foods from your grocery list and doing some advanced food prep to cut your child's snacks into bite sized pieces.
Your orthodontist will give your child specific rules to follow when it comes to their diet, but in general they will want to avoid sticky foods such as toffee or caramel. They will also want to avoid crunchy food that can get stuck in their braces, including popcorn and pizza crust. Snacks like apples will be more manageable if cut into slices or chunks.
Encourage Frequent Brushing and Flossing
Your child will most likely need to brush more often than usual in order to keep both their teeth and their new braces clean. Remind them to brush their teeth after every meal and most snacks. They should bring a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with them to school if possible. They will also need to floss at least once a day. In some cases, your orthodontist may also recommend a saline rinse, especially when the braces are new, in order to prevent inflammation.
If your child is very young, you may want to supervise their brushing and set up a reward system in the form of a sticker chart or similar to keep them motivated.
Support and Listen to Your Child
Your child may experience some discomfort from their braces, at least initially. They may also feel self-conscious at first since they are not used to seeing themselves with braces. Be sure to listen with empathy and understanding. If your child thinks something is wrong with their braces, such as them fitting too tightly, take their concerns seriously and make an appointment with their orthodontist for an adjustment.
By following these tips and any instructions given by your child's orthodontist, you will help ensure you child's transition to braces is a smooth one.