When your teen reaches the point where they’re ready for orthodontic treatment, it can seem like a tough sell to maintain healthy habits. The softer foods required by orthodontists might not always be the healthiest, and caring for braces can be tough when you still have to remind your teen to brush their teeth twice a day. If you’re worried about keeping your teen healthy while they have braces, here are a few tips to help you out.
Make Healthy Eating a Family Affair
When braces are part of the picture, it’s easy for your teen to feel isolated in their eating habits. No whole apples or carrots, no foods like popcorn that get stuck in your teeth, and forget about chewy or sticky foods. Instead of confining your teen to two years of isolation during dinner while they have braces, make the change in dietary needs a family affair as much as you can. That means softer foods and smaller, bite-sized portions for everyone. Not only will this help your teen feel less isolated in their dietary changes, but it will protect both their teeth and their braces at the same time. Not sure what to cook? Here are a few great options to consider that can keep your family healthy and protect your teen’s braces.
- Pasta with veggies blended into the sauce
- Oatmeal with berries or diced fruit to put on top
- Italian wedding or minestrone soup
- Slow cooker stews with lots of veggies
There are plenty of healthy, delicious options available when you want to make orthodontic-friendly eating a family affair. As long as veggies are soft or cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces, your teen should be fine.
Keep Up with Oral Hygiene
When it comes to caring for braces, maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits is essential. That means your teen needs to be brushing their teeth twice daily, flossing on a regular basis, and steering clear of acidic and sugary foods. Unfortunately, brushing and flossing can become somewhat of a daunting task when metal braces are involved. But when you consider that more than 40% of kids have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten, helping your teen maintain good oral hygiene habits is critical. That’s not to say you can’t make it a little bit easier on them, though! If your teen is dealing with metal braces, it might be worth considering an electric toothbrush over a manual one. Not only does this make brushing easier, but it may actually help your teen get better cleaning done around their brackets and wires. As for flossing, a tool like a water flosser may be a good investment. Not only is it more environmentally friendly than traditional floss, but it can often get into hard-to-reach places that traditional flossing methods might miss.
Keep Up with Regular Dental Cleanings
Your teen’s orthodontist and dentist should work hand in hand to keep their braces clean and functioning as intended. When you consider that almost 4 million Americans are currently wearing braces, dentists and orthodontists working together to ensure their patients are healthy is incredibly common. Regular dental cleanings can help keep your child’s teeth healthy and their braces clean. A cleaning with braces might take a little bit longer than your average dental cleaning, but the results are well worth it. This is especially important when you think about how tough it can be for a teen to properly care for their teeth and braces at the same time, as we mentioned above.
When your teen is starting out on their orthodontic journey, keeping their oral hygiene and health in tact might seem like a challenge at first. But when you apply these simple tips to help your teen stay healthy while they’re wearing braces, everyone will have an easier time.