Important Things to Know if Your Child Needs Braces

When your child gets braces, you can think of it as both a milestone and a responsibility. As a parent, you need to be informed about the intricacies of orthodontic treatment so that you can enhance your child’s oral health and overall experience. From understanding the importance of proper oral hygiene to navigating dietary adjustments and managing discomfort, there are essential aspects to consider. By equipping yourself with knowledge and guidance, you’ll be able to support your child through this transformative process and pave the way for a confident and radiant smile.

hands of dentist with dental tweezers and brace system

Photo by Ivan Babydov

Keep reading to learn more about what braces can entail.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is vital when your child has braces. Braces create additional spaces where food particles and plaque can get trapped, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Encourage your child to brush their teeth after every meal using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Special orthodontic toothbrushes can also help clean around brackets and wires effectively. Emphasize the importance of brushing at least twice a day, if not after every meal, to remove food particles and plaque that can accumulate around the braces. Regular flossing can be challenging with braces, but it’s necessary, as it can prevent plaque buildup and gum inflammation. Floss threaders or orthodontic floss picks can help your child clean between teeth and around the braces. Rinsing with water after meals can be of further assistance in removing food particles stuck in the braces.

Dietary adjustments

Children with braces need to be mindful of their diet to avoid damaging their orthodontic appliances. Certain foods can break brackets, bend wires, and prolong the treatment duration. One of the most important recommendations is to avoid hard foods like popcorn, nuts, and certain kinds of candies. These foods can break brackets and wires, leading to emergency visits to the orthodontist. Instead, opt for softer alternatives like yogurt, bananas, and cooked vegetables. Further, sticky foods such as chewing gum, caramel, and gummy candies can get stuck in braces and are difficult to clean. These can cause significant damage and increase the risk of tooth decay. Encourage your child to choose healthier snacks like cheese, fruits, and smoothies. Your child may need to eat smaller, bite-sized pieces to reduce the risk of harming the braces. Apples, carrots, and even large sandwiches might need to be cut up.

Dealing with discomfort

It’s normal for children to experience some discomfort when they first get braces or after adjustments. Understanding how to manage this discomfort can help your child adapt more easily. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can alleviate some of the initial soreness. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult your orthodontist if the pain persists. In addition, using orthodontic wax can alleviate irritation caused by brackets and wires rubbing against the inside of the mouth. Applying a small amount of wax over the irritating bracket can provide significant relief. This wax creates a barrier, preventing the brackets from causing sores. If there are any sore spots, your child might benefit from rinsing out their mouth with warm salt water. A solution of half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water can reduce inflammation and promote healing of any mouth sores caused by braces.

Regular orthodontic appointments

Regular orthodontic appointments are crucial for the success of your child’s treatment, so try to find a doctor that you can trust and rely on. It’s important to find a good orthodontist in New Jersey or your area to ensure your child is taken care of properly. Periodic visits allow the orthodontist to adjust the braces, monitor progress, and address any issues that may arise. During these appointments, the orthodontist will tighten the braces to ensure the teeth are moving according to the treatment plan. These adjustments are critical for maintaining the momentum of the teeth’s movement. If your child experiences any problems with their braces, such as a broken bracket or a poking wire, it’s important to address these issues promptly. Regular appointments provide an opportunity to fix these problems and keep the treatment on track.


Embracing your child’s orthodontic journey with knowledge and preparedness sets the stage for a successful outcome. By emphasizing the significance of oral hygiene, encouraging mindful dietary habits, and addressing discomfort with care, you empower your child to navigate their braces experience with confidence. Additionally, prioritizing regular orthodontic appointments ensures that your child’s treatment progresses smoothly and any issues are promptly addressed. With your unwavering support and proactive approach, your child can embark on this orthodontic adventure with a smile. Your child will know they have a caring ally by their side every step of the way.

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