A beautiful smile can make a huge difference in a teen’s life, as it has the potential to boost self-confidence. However, the procedure for having braces put on can be tough. Even the most confident teen can have trouble adjusting to their braces. With that being said, here are four ways that you can help your teen make that adjustment.

Remind Them of the Importance of Brushing

When your teen first gets braces put on, their orthodontist will instruct them on how to brush and floss. An orthodontist, like Donald Snyder, will go over what type of brushes and floss to use and how many times per day to use them. At home, it is up to you to make sure that your teen follows through on instructions. If your teen doesn’t have an electric toothbrush, now might be the time to invest in one. A good electric toothbrush has bristles that can get rid of plaque build-up around the braces.

Be Prepared with Foods They Can Eat

There will be many favorite foods that your teen will have to abstain from eating. Gummy candies, bagels, nuts, apples, and corn on the cob are difficult to chew and can break brackets and wires. Prepare your fridge and cabinets with food your teen can safely eat. These foods include soft bread, dairy products, lunch meats, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and smoothies. Limiting sugar intake is crucial, so you will have to diligently guide your teen away from sugary foods.

Remind Them to Avoid Chewing Habits

If your teen has a habit of chewing on non-edible items (including their fingernails), this needs to be discouraged. Chewing on nails, clothing, pens, or ice cubes can result in broken brackets and snapped wires. Your teen could be chewing out of boredom, anxiety, or plain old habit. Try to distract them by giving your teen a task to do that takes their mind off chewing.

Invest in a Mouth Guard

Teen athletes require mouth guards to safeguard braces while playing sports. You will need to find a mouth guard that fits over the braces. Your orthodontist might have a few helpful suggestions for which mouth guard to try. Also, if your teen plays a wind instrument in band, have them use a warm salt-water and wax rinsing solution. This helps toughen up tissue on the lips and cheeks.

Helping your teen adjust to having braces is critical. Since your orthodontist can only do so much to get your teen started, you need to be your teen’s guide. Remind your teen how beautiful their smile is becoming thanks to their braces, and encourage them to smile!