Healthy Habits for a Happy Smile: 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Kids With Braces

New Year's resolutions for kids.

New Year, New Smile

As we ring in the New Year, let’s turn the spotlight on our kids, specifically those sporting a new smile with braces. New Year’s resolutions are not just about gym memberships or reading more books; they can also be about embracing healthy oral habits, especially for our kids with braces. Giving your children’s orthodontic health a fresh start can make their journey with braces smoother and more comfortable.

Maintaining good oral health while undergoing orthodontic treatment is crucial. Braces can trap food and cause plaque, which, if left unattended, may cause tooth decay and gum disease. Adopting healthy habits can make a world of difference in maintaining the health and aesthetics of your child’s smile during and after orthodontic treatment.

And here’s the fun part—creating New Year’s resolutions with your kids around oral health can be a fun and educational activity. It’s a great way to bond with your children while teaching them the importance of good oral hygiene. So, let’s dive into some achievable and practical resolutions to help ensure your kids with braces have a year filled with happy and healthy smiles!

Resolution 1: Commit to practicing great oral hygiene at home.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions for kids with braces, the most vital element should be a steadfast commitment to meticulous brushing and flossing. Given the nature of braces, with their brackets and wires, they provide numerous nooks and crannies that can trap food particles. Such hidden spots can, unfortunately, become a hotbed for harmful bacteria, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Let’s look at some handy tips for effective brushing and flossing with braces.

  1. Make it a routine to brush after each meal, as this aids in removing food debris lodged around the braces.
  2. Opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles. They clean around braces without causing damage.
  3. Brush in a gentle circular motion to meticulously clean around the brackets and under the wires. Don’t rush this process.
  4. Though flossing can be more challenging with braces, it should never be skipped. Flossing cleans the areas between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Tools like floss threaders or orthodontic floss can make flossing with braces easier.
  5. Special orthodontic aids like interdental brushes are indispensable. They have a small bristled head that is specifically designed to clean around braces and between teeth, where a regular toothbrush may struggle to reach.

Incorporating these tips and tools into daily oral care can significantly contribute to maintaining the health of your child’s teeth and gums throughout their orthodontic journey.

Resolution 2: Eat braces-friendly foods and be careful of sweets.

While it is crucial to maintain a balanced diet for overall health, paying special attention to what your child eats after getting braces is essential. Some foods are more friendly toward braces and easier on your child’s teeth.

Breakfast Suggestions:

  • Soft fruits like bananas and berries
  • Creamy yogurt or smoothies
  • Scrambled eggs with soft cooked vegetables

Lunch and Dinner Suggestions:

  • Tender cooked meats, like chicken or fish
  • Soft grains, like rice and quinoa
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Pasta dishes, such as spaghetti and macaroni and cheese

Snack Suggestions:

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Applesauce or other pureed fruit
  • Soft granola bars

While these foods are easy to eat with braces, it’s equally important to know what to avoid. Sticky, hard, and chewy foods can damage braces and be difficult to clean off. This includes foods like caramel, nuts, popcorn, and hard candies. Encourage your child to make mindful choices about their diet, and their teeth and braces will thank them!

Resolution 3: Wear your orthodontic appliances as directed.

Wearing orthodontic appliances like elastics, headgear, and retainers as directed by the dentist is critical to the success of your child’s orthodontic treatment. These appliances are designed to apply specific pressure to the teeth or jaw, prompting teeth to move into the desired positions. Consistent wear is key to achieving the best results, as inconsistent or improper use can prolong treatment or compromise results.

Establishing a routine can greatly aid in maintaining compliance. For example, try linking the use of appliances to daily activities such as meal times or bedtime. A calendar or reminder app can also be a useful tool in ensuring consistent wear.

It’s important to remember that it’s normal for these appliances to feel uncomfortable or strange at first. However, the discomfort typically subsides as your child adjusts. Encourage your child to stick with it and remind them of the end results—a healthier, straighter smile.

Resolution 4: See your dentist for regular orthodontic check-ups.

Regular orthodontic check-ups are an essential part of your child’s journey to a healthier, straighter smile. These appointments allow the dentist to monitor the progress of treatment, make necessary adjustments to orthodontic appliances, and address any concerns or issues promptly. By skipping or postponing these visits, you may lengthen the treatment process or compromise the end result.

Create a schedule that works for your family and stick to it. Consider setting reminders on your phone or marking the dates on a calendar. The key is to make these orthodontic check-ups a priority, because when it comes to your child’s oral health, consistency is king.

Resolution 5: Keep a positive attitude!

Maintaining a positive attitude throughout the orthodontic journey is just as important as the physical care for the braces themselves. Yes, there will be challenges—discomfort after adjustments, difficulty with certain foods, or even self-consciousness about their metal smile. But remember, these are all temporary. As a parent, your encouragement makes a world of difference.

When discomfort strikes, resort to soft foods and remind your child that the discomfort will lessen daily. If they’re feeling self-conscious, let them know that braces are a rite of passage for many kids. Share stories of celebrities who had braces. Most importantly, consistently remind them of the progress they’re making and celebrate each small victory. Each tightened wire, each new bracket, and every day that passes is another step toward achieving that beautiful, healthy smile they are working toward.

Welcome the New Year by booking a visit at Must Love Kids.

As we welcome the New Year, it’s the perfect time to prioritize your child’s oral health. Scheduling your child’s appointments ahead of time is an excellent New Year’s resolution, ensuring they stay on track with their braces care and overall oral health.

After all the holiday feasts, a quick check-up and cleaning at Must Love Kids pediatric dentistry would be a great start to the year. Allow our team of professionals to provide the exceptional care your child deserves so they can continue to stride confidently on their journey toward a radiant, healthy smile. Here’s to a year of beautiful smiles and excellent oral health at Must Love Kids pediatric dentistry! Schedule your child’s next appointment today!