Are you struggling with convincing your teen to take proper braces care? It can be difficult for teens to swap out food choices, learn proper brushing techniques, and stick to a dental care routine while they undergo braces treatment.
Pediatric braces and clear aligners are powerful tools that can transform smiles, but it’s up to your teen to follow the “rules” and ensure they get the most from their orthodontic treatment, no matter what type of braces they have. Teens typically don’t understand the incredible power this type of dental treatment has; it takes positive reinforcement for them to get used to the concept of braces and understand why taking good braces care is so important.
Life with braces isn’t easy at first – especially if your teen isn’t already in a habit of paying attention to their oral health. Here are some tips that may help convince your teenager to take better braces care so they end up with a beautiful smile.
1. Explain the importance and benefits of braces.
Start off by explaining to your teen why braces care is important and follow all the orthodontist’s instructions. Talk about how braces help straighten their permanent teeth, prevent cavities, and keep your mouth healthy. Make sure your teen understands that proper braces care will help them achieve the best long-term result from having them on.
2. Discuss potential consequences.
Remind them of the potential consequences if they don’t take good braces care. This can range from things like pain during treatment to ending up with a worse result than when they started their braces treatment.
You should also stress the importance of following the orthodontist’s instructions after the braces are removed. This includes wearing a retainer every day. Explain that a retainer holds the teeth in their proper position and that if they don’t wear it every day as instructed, their teeth will shift back into their original position, and all the time they wore braces will have been for nothing. No teenager wants to end up with crooked teeth again, especially after having worn braces for a long time.
3. Offer incentives.
Many children and adults are motivated by incentives, and positive reinforcement is always helpful in getting teens to do what you want! Offer rewards for good compliance with brushing and flossing between appointments, attending check-ups and regular hygiene visits. Incentives don’t have to be big or expensive. They can be small things like a lunch date together at your child’s favorite restaurant after their appointment or an extra hour of screen time on the weekend.
4. Share the cost of braces with your child.
Not all families choose to share information related to finances with their children, and that’s okay. But in this instance, it might be helpful to share with your teenager how much their braces cost to help them understand the investment you’re making in their dental health. Sharing the cost of treatment can help them become more invested in the process.
5. Provide guidance and support.
If your child has traditional braces or ceramic braces, show your teen how properly brush around each ligature or band, how to floss correctly, which foods are bad for traditional metal braces, such as popcorn kernels or hard candy and more! If they wear clear aligners, provide them with tips for removing and caring for their aligners.
Here are some other ways you can provide support for your teenager while they work towards straighter teeth:
- Offer practical tips like where to put their aligner case in their backpack
- Provide them with a small personal hygiene kit with a toothbrush and toothpaste to carry to school.
- Give them a reusable water bottle to carry, which may reduce the amount of sugary drinks they consume during the day.
- Provide braces-friendly meals. Try to avoid making too many meals with hard, sticky, or crunch ingredients. You can also help by cutting up food into smaller pieces, which makes it easier to chew.
6. Involve the orthodontist.
If your child is struggling to take proper braces care, don’t be afraid to talk with their orthodontist. After all, they’ve likely treated hundreds or thousands of individuals with braces, and there’s probably nothing they haven’t heard of before. The orthodontist can help guide you both through proper techniques for keeping the mouth clean while wearing brackets and wires, as well as give helpful reminders during appointments and additional advice along the way.
7. Plan a post-braces celebration!
It can be especially easy to slack off on oral hygiene and caring for braces when your teen knows they’ll be getting them removed soon. They may be thinking, “They’ve been on long enough, they’ve done their job.” To help encourage them through that last phase of orthodontic treatment, plan a “post-braces celebration” and include all their favorite foods they couldn’t eat while wearing traditional braces, like popcorn and nuts.
Is Your Teenager Still Struggling To Care For Their Braces? Give Us a Call!
We understand that parenting teenagers isn’t an easy task, especially when they’re undergoing braces treatment. We’re in the business of providing healthy smiles, and that includes offering educational tips and motivation for your child while they go through each phase of treatment. If your child is struggling with caring for their braces, give us a call. We’d be happy to provide some extra help and tips.