Getting braces can be scary for kids. They’ll have to wear them for at least two years on average, and braces can be uncomfortable at first. It will take some time for adjustment, and your child may be worried about how they’ll be perceived by their friends. To help through this transition, there are things you can do to provide support and make your child’s life a bit easier. Here are some fun learning activities that you can do as a family to help your kids get comfortable with braces.
Create a Special Shopping List
While receiving orthodontic treatment, there will be foods that your child will have to avoid. These foods can cause damage to the braces by getting stuck in the wires and brackets. Hard foods that require biting down and ripping in order to eat are off-limits. Candy and gum that can stick to teeth are also to be kept away from.
These food limitations can make your child feel left out or upset because they can’t enjoy their favorite foods. You can work together as a family to find fun foods your child can enjoy and create a special shopping list just for them. Some fun foods that may make the list include macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and baked apples. The first week or so after getting braces, your child will need to stick to soft foods so it’s a good idea to start planning now some fun foods they can enjoy.
Make Smoothies Together
After getting braces, your child’s mouth may be tender and sore. Making smoothies together at home as a family is a fun activity to help your child feel better. It’s best to stick to recipes that are low in sugar to promote good oral health. Don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with your own unique recipes. This can also help your child learn how to live a healthier lifestyle.
If you need help with recipes, there are all kinds of meals specifically for braces that you can find online. Avoid using any foods that are acidic for a period of time after getting braces to avoid any additional irritation. You may also want to avoid adding honey or flavorings that might stick to the teeth. Foods such as bananas, vegetables, greek yogurt, and milk are excellent choices for smoothies after receiving orthodontic treatment.
Discover Fun and Trendy Options
Help your child discover that braces don’t have to be an ugly monstrosity that has them afraid to open their mouth and smile. There are fun and trendy options available for braces that can help your child feel more comfortable. For example, Invisalign braces are a clear alternative to metal braces. Approximately 47% of users had a bigger boost of self-esteem during treatment than those who chose the metal options. These clear aligners are removable and are less likely to cause mouth abrasions, which makes brushing, flossing, and eating more comfortable.
Another fun and trendy option is colored bands. These bands can be customized to create a unique signature look. The child can choose their favorite colors and swap out for new choices at tightening appointments. Your child can choose school or sports team colors or even get festive with holiday-themed bands. Have fun together with a family photoshoot once the new bands are in place.
Search Celebrity Before and After Photos
If your child is having a hard time getting excited about having to wear braces, you can help them feel more comfortable by reminding them they’re not alone. Chances are that many of the celebrities they idolize also needed braces at some point in their lives. Look for before and after photos online of celebrities that wore braces. Your child may just change their mind after seeing several of their favorite people with braces. Make it even more fun as a family by doing your own celebrity photoshoot with your child before and after treatment.
Throw a Big Pre-Braces Party
Coping with the food limitations while wearing braces can be tough. Help them say goodbye to all their favorite foods and treats as a family by throwing a pre-braces party. You can center decorations, games, and activities with a dental theme, such as having a brushing dance party. Make sure they have all their favorite foods available as well as bowls of popcorn, bubblegum, and sticky candy. You can also have fun party favors such as flavored floss and new toothbrushes.
Create a Braces Survival Kit
Help your child get ready by helping them create their own customized braces survival kit. Items you can pack include dental wax, floss, threaders, pocket mirror, lip balm, tissues, and a new toothbrush and toothpaste. If your child plays sports, you can also include a mouthguard. Have your child pick out a fun bag they can put these items in. You may also want to include a new water bottle so they can stay hydrated and help keep their braces and teeth clean.
This bag will need to be kept with your child at all times while they’re wearing braces. Spend time as a family learning how to use these items while they are at school to help them care for their new braces. They’ll need to know how to communicate with their teachers to let them know they need to clean their teeth after eating or drinking anything.
If you think that your child may need braces, the best time to start orthodontic treatment is when they’re around seven years old. Getting braces takes some adjustment, and your child may balk at first. Help them keep in mind that this is only a temporary situation and the results of their sacrifice will be worth it. Use these family fun activities to help your child while they’re learning to get comfortable with them. Enjoy this rite of passage to a healthier smile!