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How to prepare your child for braces

You can support your child through their orthodontic journey by encouraging good dental hygiene and healthy habits.  

If braces have been recommended for your child, it is completely normal to have some questions and concerns about what the process involves. The good news is that undergoing orthodontic treatment as a child or teenager can help to improve oral health in the long term and will go a long way towards establishing a healthy smile. Read on to find out what you can expect from the treatment and how you can support your child on their orthodontic journey….

Why do children get braces?

There are a number of reasons your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment in the form of braces. Braces are often recommended in cases where it is necessary to correct crowded and crooked teeth or when bite-related issues need to be addressed. Dealing with these kinds of orthodontic concerns at an early age often helps prevent damage to the teeth, as well as problems related to chewing and speaking.

What is it like getting braces?

When your child first has their braces fitted, their orthodontist will let you know how long you can expect the treatment to take. The time for which your child will need to wear braces will depend on a few factors, such as the extent of the orthodontic issue that is being repaired. Orthodontic treatment with braces usually takes between two and three years, although this differs from person to person.

While braces are generally considered quite comfortable, it is worth knowing that your child may experience some discomfort when their braces are first fitted, as well as when they are adjusted and tightened. Any discomfort usually resolves within a few days, but you can support your child during this time by providing them with soft foods, ice packs, and over-the-counter medication. Chat to your orthodontist if you need some advice on managing any discomfort that your child might be struggling with.

How should your child take care of their braces?

When it comes to enjoying optimal oral health and a smooth treatment process, it is very important that your child takes proper care of their teeth and braces throughout their orthodontic journey. Ideally, you should encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water three or four times a day —this will help clear out food particles and other debris that may be caught in their braces. They should also brush their teeth after every meal and snack, as well as floss daily. If your child is young, you can help them floss their teeth thoroughly. 

It is also advisable that you take your child for regular dental check-ups and cleans. It will help keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean and prevent issues like tooth decay, stains, and gum disease from developing.

What foods should your child avoid?

Although it is possible to enjoy a balanced and varied diet whilst wearing braces, there are a few foods that should be avoided completely throughout the course of orthodontic treatment. Make sure that your child does not eat hard and sticky foods that can damage the components of their braces or cause a bracket to separate from a tooth.

Some foods that should be avoided with braces include popcorn, whole nuts, chewy and hard candy, chewing gum, crunchy fruits and vegetables, hard pieces of bread like bagels, some rolls, chips, and crackers.

It is also advisable that your child does not consume too many sugary foods and beverages while they have braces. Sugar contributes to the build-up of plaque, which can be difficult to remove from the teeth during orthodontic treatment and could lead to tooth decay. 

How can we help?

At South East Orthodontics, we provide high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages. If you think your child could benefit from braces, we encourage you to bring them in for an assessment. We will guide you and your child through the treatment that is most appropriate for them and address any questions you have along the way.

To find out more about the services we provide at South East Orthodontics, please have a look here. If you would like to arrange a consultation, please contact us here or give us a call at 03 9330 0702.