6 Tips To Help Kids Enjoy Braces
A key role of being a parent is providing your child with unconditional support. Braces are not mainly a child's favorite accessory because of the social stigma associated with them. The unfortunate stigma can make orthodontic treatment overly discouraging for some. Although braces can seem like the worst experience in the world to children, it's important to keep them reassured by providing full support and encouragement.
This article will explain six tips that can help children change their perspective on treatment and hopefully encourage them to enjoy the process.
Make them part of the decision
Communicating clearly and openly with your child about getting braces can help them feel like a part of the decision, rather than feeling forced. Explaining the different types of treatment options available to them can help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Giving your child positive reinforcement on the decision to get braces is the first step towards assisting them to accept the idea of treatment. There are fewer chances of your child resisting treatment if they are well-informed on the process.
Educate them on the importance of treatment
Children need to understand that braces are about more than just straight teeth. Below are a few facts that can help children understand the importance of orthodontics and the benefits of treatment:
• Straight teeth function better.
• Straight teeth are easier to clean.
• People with properly aligned teeth can avoid gum disease and other oral health issues.
• Those with properly aligned jaws reduce the risk of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), which can negatively affect sleep or cause headaches.
• People with healthy, straight smiles feel better about themselves and act more confident in social and professional settings.
Try to make adjustment appointments more enjoyable
Depending on the child's orthodontic condition, adjustment appointments are typically required every four to six weeks throughout treatment. A helpful tip is to try and make these regular visits to the orthodontist less daunting and more enjoyable.
Most orthodontic offices are designed to make the overall experience a happy one. Do your research on the office beforehand and prep your child for what to expect. For example, perhaps the office has TVs to watch or video games to play during appointments. Or maybe their appointment is scheduled during school hours, which means they get to leave the classroom a little early. You could also create a routine and reward your child with a braces-friendly treat after each adjustment appointment. It's helpful to highlight appointments, so your child doesn't become overly focused on how their smile is about to change and learns to embrace treatment openly.
Encourage them to customize their braces
A simple way to ease a child into orthodontic treatment is to play up the exciting aspects of the process. Though you may be struggling to think of any positives besides the vital health benefits, there is something that you may be overlooking — the rubber bands!
Once children have embraced the fact that they'll be wearing braces for at least a year, depending on their orthodontic condition, encourage them to have fun by adding pops of color to match their personalities. The elastics are changed every four to six weeks during adjustment appointments, so children have the opportunity to personalize their looks and express themselves regularly.
Don't compromise on oral hygiene habits
Though children need to care for their braces properly on their own, a little encouragement and help can go a long way. Braces are likely to trap food debris and plaque, often leading to future oral health problems like tooth decay. It's crucial to encourage your child to brush their teeth after each meal. A helpful tip is to create an orthodontic essentials kit to carry in their backpack. Ensuring they have the necessary tools on hand when away from home, including a soft toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a floss threader, can make the process more manageable for them.
Remind them of the outcome
Children can often tend to feel embarrassed, anxious, or self-conscious about wearing braces. As parents, it's essential to consistently reassure them that braces are only temporary and that the results will be worth it. Even though your child may not appreciate or realize the benefits during treatment, their appreciation will show through their new smile that they’re consistently proud to show off.