Living with braces takes some adjustment, especially for kids. If your little one has just come home with a brand new set of braces in their mouth, you're sure to watch them wrestle with some adaptations in the coming weeks. From diet tips to oral hygiene advice, here are a few ways you, as a parent, can help your little one get used to braces.
1. Stock up on soft foods.
The only foods your child can't eat with braces are really crunchy foods, like nuts, and foods that they really have to bite into — like whole apples. However, during the first few weeks with braces, your child will have to adapt to eating with braces. So, they will probably prefer foods that are even softer and easier to eat. Stock up on items like yogurt, pudding, applesauce, and soft pasta, so your child has plenty to eat during this adaptation period.
2. Remind them it's okay to smile.
Some children become embarrassed and self-conscious when they get braces put on. They may no longer want to smile or talk to others. You can help your child adjust emotionally by reminding them that braces are nothing to be ashamed of — and that they are still beautiful. Do not force them to smile, but instead make sure they know they can when they're ready.
3. Let them pick out a new toothbrush.
Brushing teeth with braces can be tough. Your child may struggle to use the toothbrush they used to use before they got braces. You can be a supportive parent by taking them to buy a new one. In fact, let them bring home several toothbrushes, try them all out, and then keep using the one they like best. If they have a toothbrush they can use easily, they are more likely to keep taking good care of their teeth, which will result in fewer cavities.
4. Remind them to use wax.
Especially during the first few weeks with braces, the wires and brackets can rub painfully on the insides of the cheeks. Remind your child to put wax on the rough parts of the braces to stop this rubbing. You can help them apply the wax if needed. Reapplying it each morning is a good way to keep on top of this issue before it becomes too serious.
To learn more about braces and helping your child adjust, speak to your children's orthodontist.