Can I tell you a secret? I totally wanted braces when I was a kid.
So much so my sister and I used to borrow those colourful metal paper clips and would straighten them and then bend them around a plastic cup to make our “own braces” and proudly wear them around the house. Now that I am grown I find myself shocked that I would do something so dangerous. Umm, HELLO I put a paper clip in my mouth and wrapped it around my teeth!
It’s a wonder I didn’t scratch the enamel off my teeth or worse swallow the dumb thing. I never did end up getting braces as a kid but now that I have kids of my own I am wondering what the odds are that none of them will need a set.
Some kids don’t mind the thought of getting braces, but for others it can be the worst thing imaginable. This can be a challenge for parents, who want to do what they can to help.
Here are four ways you can help your children adjust to their new braces.
Help with Their Dietary Restrictions
Getting braces means your child should not eat certain foods. Hard or sticky foods can cause damage to the braces and set back treatment progress. You can help by not buying your child food items the orthodontist recommends they do not eat, like Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics or what any other respectable orthodontist recommends. Don’t even keep these items in the house, if you can. You can promise your child a bag of these banned goodies once their braces come off and spoil them a little with comparable items instead.
Aid in Their Oral Hygiene
Make sure your child practices proper hygiene around his or her new braces. Braces require special care and it is very easy for your child to develop cavities or other oral health problems due to neglect. Support your kid by buying them a new toothbrush—perhaps a special one for braces, electric or in their favourite color. Stay on top of them and ask if they’ve followed the instructions of their orthodontist. Once they establish the habit, your role will be easier.
Help Them Manage Any Pain
Braces can be uncomfortable at best and downright painful at worst. Usually, the pain and discomfort lessens after the initial application and subsequent adjustments. After their braces get tightened or adjusted, see how they are doing and give them a painkiller if necessary. You can give your child soft foods which will cause less discomfort to eat and give them adequate breaks when they are hurting.
It is very important to encourage your child to do the same social and extracurricular activities he or she would do if they were not wearing braces. Some children may be embarrassed about their braces, so it’s important to support them and encourage them to partake in the things they enjoy. It’s also possible your child will be a target of bullying because of the braces. If your child is being bullied, take the matter seriously and involve the school, your child’s teacher and the bully’s parents.
By helping your kids adjust to their new braces, you make successful treatment more likely. This also means you end up with a better return on your investment. If your child has just gotten braces, be sure to help them through the process. It will make the experience much easier for both of you.
A little about Today’s guest poster, Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2