How To Make Braces Care Fun for Kids

Helping your child develop good oral care habits while wearing braces can feel daunting. At Saddle Creek Orthodontics, we often get asked, “How do I encourage proper oral care habits in my child who has braces?” Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a daily struggle. Here are some ideas for encouraging your child to maintain excellent oral hygiene and also make braces care fun for kids during their orthodontic treatment.

The Importance of Oral Healthcare With Braces

Just because a chunk of your teeth surface is covered by braces doesn’t mean oral hygiene is any less important during orthodontic treatment. It’s actually the opposite—it’s more important than ever!

Braces can make it easier for food and plaque to get stuck around those brackets and wires, leading to cavities and gum disease if your child isn’t diligent with their hygiene. Plus, good oral hygiene is crucial for the braces to do their job effectively. Healthy gums and teeth help ensure the orthodontic treatment progresses smoothly and on schedule.

But do you get children on board with this, and how can you make it easy for them so they don’t lose motivation or hate the orthodontic journey (sacrificing their health and smile)?

How To Make Braces Care Fun for Kids

Educate Your Child About Oral Hygiene

One of the best ways to get and keep your child on board with their new oral care is to inform them. No one likes to be told something and not told why. Start by explaining what braces are for and the goal of the treatment. Help them understand that braces are there to give them a beautiful, healthy smile and that taking care of their teeth is a crucial part of the process. Then, explain the dangers of not caring for their teeth or braces and how it can jeopardize their health and smile—but don’t scare them! We don’t want oral healthcare to be intimidating or stressful. 

Establish a Consistent Routine

After they know the why, you can use fun and engaging methods to show them proper oral hygiene techniques. You can use our YouTube channel, colorful charts/visuals, or even a reward system to make learning about and incorporating oral care into the daily routine exciting. By involving your child and making oral care a fun, consistent part of their day, you’ll help them develop habits that will keep their smile bright and healthy for years to come! Here are some suggestions to help get you started:

  • Make it a team effort: Brush and floss together as a family. If they see mom, dad, and/or their siblings doing an oral hygiene routine, they might be more inclined to take it seriously to impress or copy y’all.
  • Create A Karaoke Moment: Use a two-minute timer to ensure they brush long enough, and make it fun by playing their favorite song while they brush. You can even create your own song; just make sure it’s 2 minutes long! 
  • Under The Tunnel: Remember when you learned to tie your shoes and were told something like, “Go through the tunnel,” and “Make bunny ears”? As you teach your child to floss, maybe you can think of something similar—like sneaking the floss behind enemy lines (the archwire) to remove the VDP (very dangerous plaque)—to make it easy to remember and fun to do.
How To Make Braces Care Fun for Kids

Provide The Right Tools

When conquering oral hygiene with braces, children will also likely need to incorporate some tools to help maintain sparkling teeth and clean braces 24/7. For example, flossing with braces can be challenging, but the following three tools can make it much simpler and quicker.

  • Interdental Brushes: These small brushes are also called interproximal brushes and are perfect for getting into the tight spaces between teeth and braces that a regular toothbrush might miss. Interdental brushes help dislodge food particles and prevent plaque build-up, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. 
  • Water Flossers: Water flossers use—you guessed it!—water to clean between teeth and around braces. They’re particularly effective for removing stubborn food particles and plaque along the gum line and in hard-to-reach places, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene with braces.
  • Thread Flossers: These tools help guide dental floss under the archwire, allowing for thorough cleaning between teeth. Thread flossers are essential for removing plaque and food particles that can get trapped around braces and between the teeth. 

Braces care kit

But that’s not all your child needs to stay happy and healthy with braces. We also suggest putting together a braces kit for care and oral hygiene on the go! Children are very busy with friends, school, clubs, after-school activities, music lessons, etc. A braces care kit makes sure their orthodontic needs aren’t lost in the shuffle. Here’s what it should include:

  • A mirror 
  • Orthodontic wax to prevent irritation and mouth sores
  • Floss, floss threaders, and interdental brushes
  • A reusable water bottle to prevent dry mouth and mouth sores while washing away food and plaque throughout the day
  • Rubber bands, if necessary
  • A travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste (you never know when they might need a complete refresh)

It might feel like they’re not going to use the kit, but once they realize how it will keep their breath smelling great, food out of their smiles, and their braces comfortable, they’ll not want to leave home without it.

How To Encourage Braces-Friendly Eating

Many children are the kitchen’s biggest critics. They like what they like, and that’s okay! However, while they have braces, what they like may not necessarily be on the list of orthodontist-approved foods. Getting your child to embrace healthy and braces-safe eating habits can be a bit of an undertaking. Still, with a little creativity and encouragement, it can be done! Here are some tips to help your child stick to a braces-friendly diet:

  • Involve Them In Meal Planning: Let your child have a say in what they eat by involving them in meal planning and grocery shopping. This can make them more excited about healthy options. Encourage them to pick out soft fruits, veggies, and other braces-friendly foods. This might also help them better remember what’s on the braces menu and what’s not if you use fun pictures.
  • Let Them Help: Show them how to make their favorite snacks fun and appealing. For example, cut fruits into cool shapes, make yogurt parfaits with fresh berries, or prepare smoothie bowls. Presentation can make a big difference in getting kids excited about their food. You can also show them how to make their favorite non-approved foods braces safe, like cutting apples into bite-size pieces, steaming crunchy vegetables, removing the nuts from the muffins recipe, etc. Even if they aren’t ready to do the work themselves yet, including them in the process and showing them all the options can help prevent them from feeling restricted by their braces.
  • Lead by Example: Kids are more likely to follow healthy eating habits if they see their parents and siblings doing the same. Make a point to eat braces-friendly meals together as a family, and show your child that eating healthy can be delicious and enjoyable.

If none of that helps, remind them that frequently broken braces by eating the wrong foods can lead to them spending more time in braces than originally planned—that might whip them into shape!

How To Make Braces Care Fun for Kids

Get More Tips From THE Top Orthodontic Experts!

At Saddle Creek Orthodontics in Germantown and Collierville, TN, we’re dedicated to helping your child achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. For more tips on maintaining excellent oral hygiene with braces and creating a positive experience for your child, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is here to support you and your wonderful children every step of the way.