Posted on October 8, 2021
If you are a parent of a kid with braces and you are concerned about how they are caring for their braces, you may be feeling stressed. Do you micromanage them, take a hands-off approach—or do you do something in between? Here are three key ways that you can help your child take care of their braces and maintain good oral hygiene without becoming a helicopter—or overly permissive—parent.
One of the keys to helping your child take care of their braces and their oral hygiene is to empower them to do it on their own without your constant supervision. Since you often can’t be with them during every hour of the day, you need to encourage your child to practice good hygiene by teaching them good principles and empowering them to act. Take an authoritative approach by being involved in their hygiene and orthodontic journey, but also showing them that you trust them to make good decisions. Explain to them why good hygiene is important, not just what good hygiene looks like.
Another important way to empower your child to take care of their braces is to enable them with the tools to succeed. A fun way of doing this is to provide a little self-care caddy in the bathroom that they use regularly, as well as a small, functional hygiene kit to take to school and/or work. The caddy in the bathroom should include supplies like floss, floss threaders, tooth-sensitive toothpaste, wax for poking wires, lip balm, etc. The small hygiene kit can include a travel toothbrush, mini floss, wax, and the appropriate pain medication when things feel sore.
When a child has braces, there are often different types of foods that they should avoid or eat differently. For example, children with braces really shouldn’t be biting into hard foods, like apples; rather, their apples should be sliced. Furthermore, those with braces should avoid sticky, chewy, and very hard foods as they can damage the braces and cause discomfort. As a parent, try to support these restrictions by only purchasing things that your child can eat, or helping your child prepare their meal appropriately.
As a parent, it is essential that you support your child during their orthodontic journey. This can be easier said than done, however. Therefore, be sure to develop a good relationship with your orthodontist as you both work as a team to ensure that your child stays healthy and happy while wearing braces.
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