Your teenager may feel like they’re living on an island when they get their braces. They’re experiencing discomfort because of the hardware on their teeth, they’re feeling self-conscious about their new “accessory,” and to top it off some of their favorite foods are on the no list until their orthodontic treatment is complete. Here are some things you can do to help your teen get used to their braces.
Keep the Soft Foods Coming
Here’s what’s off-limits now for braces-wearers:
- Chewy foods (including gum, fruit snacks, caramel and taffies, steak)
- Hard foods (pizza crust, unpeeled apples, raw vegetables)
- Crunchy foods (popcorn, nuts)
What you can give your teen is plenty of ice cream, smoothies, pasta, and cooked vegetables to make their meals easier to eat. You still want to get the necessary nutrients into them, so it may be necessary to find creative ways to cook some meals or make substitutions for their favorite items.
Remember – for you and your teen – braces are temporary, but a gorgeous, healthy smile is permanent. It’s only for a short period of time that you must avoid some of your favorite foods. And there will be days when the patient isn’t feeling any discomfort from their brackets and wires, so they may want to test out a food they might otherwise stay away from. Just make sure a bite of it can’t damage your brackets and wires.
Pack Dental Kits
Your new braces-wearer will need to have teeth-cleaning products at the ready wherever they go. Braces and Invisalign teen require extra cleaning throughout the day and it’s never good to be caught empty-handed, especially after a meal. Create little bags for them to keep in their backpack, pocket, or even your car. What should you put in it?
- Travel toothbrush
- Travel floss
- Orthodontic flossers
- Case (for those with Invisalign Teen)
Being their for your kids is half the battle, so sometimes all you need to do is listen to your teen complain about how tight their Invisalign aligner feels or how their brackets are always poking their cheeks. You can be that sounding board, but look for every opportunity to offer encouragement too:
- Make a list of celebs who wore braces (and there are plenty who were already famous).
- Show them before and after photos of teens with their same misalignment so they can see just how amazing their results will be too.
- Start a countdown calendar or, better yet, an accomplishment calendar – one sticker for every day closer to completion.
- Take them out for a treat when they’ve hit certain milestones or after every other checkup with the orthodontist.