How to Prepare Your Child for Braces

Once your child’s baby teeth have fallen out and permanent teeth have grown in, they may be ready for braces. Though, some kids may need early orthodontic treatment to fix misaligned bites and impacted teeth before all their baby teeth are out.

If they’re ready, your dentist will likely refer you to a trusted pediatric orthodontist who corrects improper tooth and jaw alignment with braces. However, for braces to straighten crooked teeth without a hitch, it’s essential to take proper care of your child’s braces and teeth.

Help Your Kids Understand Why They Need Braces

Most kids have either heard of braces or seen their friends with braces before they get their own. They may have also heard about the negative side of braces. Wearing braces requires changing eating habits, missing out on favorite foods, and sometimes putting up with mouth pain for one to two years or more! They might even be worried about the way they will look.

As a parent, you need to help them understand the importance of proper orthodontic treatment. For example, braces can prevent early loss of primary teeth, fix an overbite or underbite, make room for overcrowded teeth, close gaps between teeth, and fix any issue of biting or chewing food improperly. Plus, their beautiful smile will shine once they have straight teeth.

little girl with braces from pediatric orthodontist in middle Tennessee

How to Take Care of Braces

Properly caring for your child’s braces prevents unnecessary repair and replacement, which can end up costing you more. The sooner you start preparing your child for the extra care they’ll be facing once they get braces, the easier the transition will be.

Teach Your Child About Daily Care

The biggest worry for orthodontists is poor oral hygiene since it can lead to enamel decalcification and tooth decay. During an orthodontic evaluation, your orthodontist will likely ask you about your child’s hygiene habits before deciding to put on braces to determine if they are a good candidate. If your child doesn’t take good care of their teeth, your pediatric orthodontist may wait until your child improves their hygiene. 

Your child needs to brush their teeth after every meal and each time they eat anything sugary. Removing leftover food particles and bacteria is crucial to preventing cavities, stains, decalcification, and other dental issues when wearing braces.

Here’s what decalcification from poor hygiene looks like with braces:

Brush and floss daily

Since braces easily catch food between the teeth and wires, kids must diligently brush and floss between meals. If your child does not take care of their teeth properly while they have braces, their teeth will look stained after removal. Unfortunately, regular floss can be hard to use with traditional braces, so we suggest getting a special floss that can thread through the wires.

Prepare Your Home for Braces

You’ll need to have extra dental care items once your child has their braces on. If you buy these items ahead of time, your child will start with proper dental care with braces as soon as they have them on. 

Your child will need orthodontic or dental wax, travel-size toothbrushes, travel-size toothpaste, floss, a floss threader, and mouthwash. Depending on your child’s age, you may need to look for mouthwash specifically for kids.

Here’s an example of how to brush and floss with tools made for braces:

You should also replace the foods in your kitchen that would be harmful to braces with foods that are braces-friendly ahead of time. If you have more questions, ask one of our orthodontic Tennessee professionals for an extensive list of what foods are good and bad for braces.

Stock Up On Soft Foods

Your child’s mouth will most likely get sore during the first week that they have braces. This pain will go away in time as the teeth begin aligning properly. Prepare for this by buying and making plenty of soft foods they can easily chew and swallow without much effort.

Some great food options for braces include:

  • Mashed potatoes – try sweet potatoes for extra vitamins!
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Yogurt 
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Soup
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream

Soreness may occur after routine adjustments, so it will be good to keep these foods on hand to ensure your child can eat with minimum discomfort.

What Foods to Avoid With Braces

Braces can make eating certain foods difficult, and some foods can damage braces. More importantly, rubber bands that keep brackets and wires in place tend to break off when eating sticky foods.

Foods to avoid while wearing metal braces:

  • Chewy caramels
  • Gum
  • Sticky candy
  • Hard candy
  • Sugary soda
  • Juice
  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Whole apples

Prevent Sores with Dental Wax

The wires may extend past the bracket on the last tooth during the tightening and straightening process. This movement is expected but often uncomfortable. Dental wax provides the perfect solution by creating a protective barrier between the bracket and your child’s mouth.

When you visit one of our pediatric orthodontists near you, we can provide small cases of dental wax to prevent mouth sores. Be sure to have enough wax both at home and for your child to take with them.

Get Your Child Braces From a Fun Pediatric Dentist in Tennessee

When you choose Snodgrass King for your child’s orthodontic needs, you will work closely with the staff, who will teach you all about your child’s braces and the process. If you have any questions about the process or anything else regarding your child’s dental care, reach out to Dr. Snodgrass and his pediatric dentistry team at Snodgrass-King. We will be happy to set you up with an appointment, so all your child’s dental needs can be taken care of.

Have you been searching for a pediatric orthodontist in Middle Tennessee? Call Snodgrass-King to set up a consultation with a pediatric orthodontist in Mt. Juliet, Franklin, Murfreesboro, or Spring Hill.