According to studies by the Pennsylvanian Dental Association, as many as four million people in the United States are currently wearing braces at any given time. While adults can and do use braces at times, the majority of those who wear braces are children, teens, and young adults. While it is a very common prosthetic that is in wide use today, many young people still feel a good deal of apprehension and uncertainty about getting braces. Here are three simple things you can do as a parent to help your child prepare for their new braces and to keep them focused on the overall health benefits that they offer.
Have an Honest Talk With Your Kids
An estimated 3.5 million American kids and teenagers get a new set of braces every year. It is important to talk with your child ahead of time about what they can expect from their braces. Parents need to let their children know how common braces are and that they shouldn’t be ashamed to wear them. Remind them that chances are, they have a friend or schoolmate already wearing braces or other dental implants. It is ok to not like having braces but if they can accept it and roll with it, things will be easier in the long run.
Purchase Soft Foods Ahead of Time
Some lifestyle changes will need to be made when your child gets braces, particularly early on as they get used to the prosthetic. Oftentimes soft foods are best after getting new braces because the mouth, tongue, and gums can hurt at first. It will get better over time and eating will get easier. Braces for overbites, the second most common reason, and other uses are all in the name of better dental health. Braces are not a way to torture or punish but rather help, and your child needs to understand this.
Purchase Dental Wax to Keep on Hand
It is recommended by most dental care experts that you visit a dentist at least once a year — just as often as you should see a regular medical doctor. You should visit the dentist more regularly when you have braces. This will allow them to closely monitor your progress and watch for problems that may arise. If the braces are rubbing or irritating the inside of your mouth, your dentist may recommend putting dental wax on them to remove rough edges and reduce irritation. This can help reduce pain and discomfort as your child gets used to eating, drinking, talking, and living with the braces.
Model Good Habits for Your Child
Children learn by doing and by copying what they see adults in their life do day in and day out. The best way to instill good dental care habits and routines for your child is to show them what that is like. Lead by example and show them what they need to do. Brush and floss every day, take care of your own dental issues, keep your own dental check-ups, and model good healthy behaviors for your kids. Your children watch you more than you probably realize so be sure you set a good example for them every day.
As parents, you are responsible for the dental health and overall health of your child. Ensuring they get the medical care they need is part of the job. Taking care of dental concerns early on can set your child up for an easier time as an adult, So, be sure to talk to your local pediatric dental care expert today and see if braces are right for your child. It is just one way you can help them have a better and healthier future.