Cont. From Last Edition
3. Stock the fridge with braces-friendly food
Adjusting to life with braces can be tough, especially for kids who might not be used to big life changes. In addition to seeing a new smile in the mirror, they also have to learn what they can and cannot eat. As parents, you can make the process easier by making sure the kitchen is stocked with braces-friendly food. Instead of packing sandwiches in their lunchboxes (bread can get stuck in braces), include easy-to-eat foods like soups, hard-boiled eggs, steamed vegetables or yogurt. At home, make braces-friendly meals for the whole family so your kids don’t feel singled out. Bonus: most foods that are safe for braces are super nutritious! By eating braces-friendly food as a family, your child or teen will never feel like they’re missing out.
4. Use positive reinforcement to reward good braces behaviour
Just like your kids will need to get used to eating differently, they’ll also need to develop new habits to take care of their braces. They’ll need to be more diligent about brushing and flossing their teeth, and if they have Invisalign, they’ll need to clean their aligners properly. Offering positive reinforcement when they practice good oral hygiene will encourage the behaviour, making their treatment more effective and protecting your investment in their braces or Invisalign. It can help to continuously remind them to stay focused on the outcome: their perfect smile. Having an end goal to work towards will make it easier for them to stay on track.
5. Be prepared to help them handle soreness
Braces and Invisalign are both extremely effective orthodontic treatments to create beautiful smiles. But in order to achieve optimal alignment, your teeth have to move which, unfortunately, can hurt. As your child’s braces or Invisalign aligners shift their teeth into the proper position, it can be uncomfortable to deal with. Additionally, your child’s brackets can be sharp and irritating to the lips at first. To help your kids cope with the not-sofun parts of straightening their teeth, have child-safe painkillers (like ibuprofen) and plenty of orthodontic wax on hand. Have them take Advil right before getting their braces tightened or when they switch to a new set of aligners. If their brackets are scraping the inside of their lips, place wax on the sharp parts of their braces to reduce irritation. It’s important to be proactive about managing discomfort in order to support your kids’ journey through orthodontic treatment.
6. Show them the value of braces
If your kids are feeling wary about how braces will impact their lives, try to help them see the bigger picture instead of focusing on what’s happening right now. Not only will they have a brand new smile to show off — they’ll experience a boost in confidence and selfesteem as a result. Some short-term discomfort now will lead to long-term improve ment in their lives. Keeping your kids focused on the outcome will help them understand the lifelong value of braces or Invisalign.
Adapting to change and creating new habits can be a challenge for anyone. As your kids adjust to their new lives with braces, it’s up to you to give them the support and tools to take care of their teeth. Braces and Invisalign are an investment in your child’s future, so talk to them about how fortunate they are to have the opportunity to achieve their ideal smile. To combat fear or nerves, help them understand what it will be like to have braces or Invisalign ahead of their appointment. When they feel more prepared ahead of time, they’ll be able to look forward to the outcome of their treatment. And when you’re there to help them every step of the way, they’ll be more likely to take a proactive role in their dental health for now and in the future.