Kids grow up fast. And as they grow, their needs and responsibilities evolve as well. This is especially true when it comes to oral health and hygiene! This month, we’ve compiled tips to help your child develop healthy smile habits for life. Read on to find out how to help your children care for their teeth, braces, and appliances!
Tips for a healthy smile foundation
Before orthodontics, kids should learn essential oral hygiene skills, like brushing and flossing. Once braces come along, maintaining proper oral hygiene can be more challenging. That is why having a solid foundation matters. For young kids, we recommend the following:
- Brushing your teeth alongside them: Kids learn from copying, so model excellent and consistent oral hygiene. Regularly brushing your teeth (and flossing!) with your kids establishes a healthy routine and becomes a fun thing to do together. Being by their side also means you can correct them if they are rough with floss, not brushing long enough, or brushing back and forth instead of in small circular motions.
- Let your child make decisions: Picking the flavor of toothpaste or the color of their toothbrush involves your child in the more fun aspects of oral care. Some toothbrushes even play music or connect with apps for fun games! When your child likes their smile gear, they’ll feel confident and excited to keep that smile in check.
- Make dentist visits exciting: Biannual dental exams and cleanings are a must. If kids are apprehensive about the dentist, pair exams with a special treat, like a fun outing or a new toy. This is also a great tip for kids who are nervous to start their orthodontic journey!
Caring for appliances
Once children begin treatment, oral hygiene becomes more involved. Caring for braces or other orthodontic appliances requires greater attention than your typical brushing routine. Although the steps are relatively simple, it is crucial to ensure your child understands the importance of caring for their appliances. Here are several ways you can support healthy smiles during treatment.
- Put a note on their mirror: Give gentle but firm reminders for children to take care of braces, clean their aligners, or wear their retainers. By putting a note on the bathroom mirror, they will get the message throughout the day. If your kids are away, a text message or phone call can help them stay diligent as well.
- Cook braces-friendly foods: Whether you’re serving your kids food at home or sending them to school with a packed lunch, make it easier for them to take care of their braces. Avoid sticky foods or treats, like hard candies. And cut up hard fruits, like apples, that could otherwise damage appliances. When it comes to food, be mindful of your child’s feelings. If they love caramel corn or chewy candy, it might be best to snack on those non-braces-friendly items when your child isn’t around.
- Talk to your child: With open conversations about the importance of oral hygiene, you’ll encourage your child to take great care of their appliances. Regularly bringing them to the dentist during orthodontic treatment can also reinforce those lessons and instill healthy habits for life!
- Don’t panic: Our team will walk you and your child through everything during treatment. We’ve been caring for smiles for decades, and we’ll always support your family with clear instructions and helpful tips. If you’re ever concerned about anything smile-related, we’re only a phone call away!
Schedule an appointment
Help your child’s smile be the best it can be! Call us with any questions or book an appointment and join our Hutta Orthodontic Specialists family today.