When your kids are first told that they will need to get braces, a few of thoughts will likely cross your mind. How will braces impact their smile? How much will they hurt? How long will they have to keep them on? The length of treatment will likely impact the first two questions. We’re here with tips to get braces off faster!
The longer you have braces on, the more they impact your smile. Practices that shorten the time your child needs braces will also improve the effectiveness of the braces. So, what are the things we can do to shorten the time our kids, or anyone, have their braces on? In addition to good practices, make sure to note what extends braces treatment times.
Tip #1- Good Oral Hygiene Helps Get Braces Off Faster
It should go without saying that practicing good oral hygiene has positive effects. It can potentially shorten the time braces are needed! Here are four things your kids can do to keep their mouth clean:
Rinse your mouth with water after each meal
It’s so easy for food to become lodged in braces after eating. This stray food creates more opportunity for plaque to form if left to sit. This can also create pockets of decay behind the braces. A quick rinse can dislodge and remove this loose food when they don’t have a moment to brush.
Brush your teeth twice a day
Staying with a regular regimen of brushing twice per day with a recommended toothpaste will help keep your mouth clean.
*Tip: Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste when traveling away from home.
Flossing with braces can be difficult. Talk to your orthodontist about special orthodontic floss made specifically for braces. Its design keeps the areas between your teeth and between your braces clean from food particles that will eventually turn to plaque.
Get regular teeth cleanings
Just because you have braces and visit the orthodontist doesn’t mean you can forgo your normal teeth cleaning schedule! It’s just as important to maintain regular cleanings and dentist checkups with braces on, if not more so.
Tip #2 – Watch what you eat and put in your mouth with braces
When you’re doing everything you can to maintain your oral health in braces, remember to consider what activities can lengthen the time braces are needed. Food restrictions with braces are no joke and ignoring them can damage braces and make them less effective.
Food Restrictions with Braces
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep hard, chewy, sticky, and crunchy foods away from your kids with orthodontia. This includes foods such:
- bagels and hard rolls,
- caramel and gum,
- hard candy,
- otherwise sugary foods that cause plaque and bacteria buildup.
There is another group of foods that, with the proper handling and preparation, are adaptable to braces. These include foods that you have to bite into such as apples, corn on the cob, and carrots.
Biting into these foods causes extreme pressure on the front of your teeth and, consequently, the brackets and wires on the outside of your front teeth. To continue to eat these types of foods, cut or prepare them in a more manageable size and consistency. That could mean cutting into bite-sized pieces, or even mashing into a smoother consistency, like applesauce!
Bad Habits Wreak Havoc on Braces
If your child is practicing bad habits before braces, it’s best to nip them in the bud. Remind them not to bite on pencils, pens, or nails. Not only are these bad for braces, but they can also extend the time you have braces. They can even reverse the straightening that has already occurred! Nobody wants that to happen.
Tip #3- Follow the Orthodontist’s Instructions
We know mom knows best. Orthodontist knows best, too. Remembering to heed their advice can easily be forgotten when you’re living daily life, rushing around with kids. Now imagine how difficult this is for the kids to keep top of mind!
As a parent, you’ll need to remind them about their elastics and rubber bands, how to brush properly, how to floss properly, and so much more. Proper use of rubber bands will actually aid in getting braces off faster. The single most important practice you can start is creating a routine for your child to follow each day.
Start by writing it all down on paper. Include the time of day for each event, like brushing or replacing rubber bands. You can even set reminders on your phone until it all becomes a habit for you and your child. It’s much easier and far more manageable if you and your kids know exactly what they’re supposed to do and when.
Don’t skip any appointments or follow-ups with the orthodontist. If a wire or bracket breaks, have it taken care of as quickly as possible.
If you and your kids follow these three tips, at worst, they should get their braces off when they’re supposed to. At best, you may even shave a few months off treatment time. Not following these tips can seriously impact your braces regimen, adding months or even years to the time in braces.
Each mouth reacts to braces differently, but following the advice of the orthodontist, creating a good daily routine, eating the proper foods, and practicing good oral hygiene should help your kids get their braces off faster.
- Learn more about care of your braces.