Teens have their own ideas about how to do everything, including taking care of their braces. In fact, tending to their teeth may not be a priority at all, but it is a parent’s job to encourage teens to prioritize their oral health. When the teen braces go on, set clear expectations about daily responsibilities right from the start and reinforce them throughout treatment, along with the following motivators.
1. Clarify Long-Term Benefits
Teens tend to live in the present. They probably aren’t thinking about prom or graduation photos or selfies with friends after their braces come off. But here are future realities: straight teeth are healthier because they’re easier to clean, put less strain on the jaw, and help prevent serious dental problems.
Encourage your teenager to take pride in their appearance and especially their teeth, whether there is food stuck in a bracket or a few teeth look a little off-color because they haven’t been brushed well enough. Above all, make long-term benefits clear – a great smile will impress professors, potential employers, love interests, and anyone they meet.
2. Help Them Get Organized
Sometimes teens have so much going on that getting organized for one activity or responsibility can be daunting. Make things easy for them where braces or Invisalign Teen are concerned. Create a system that works for your teen to help them remember to brush, floss, and tend to their braces morning and night – this could be as simple as an alarm on their phone. Arm them with all the tools they need to keep their braces clean, from a water flosser to interdental brushes.
3. Explain Potential Complications
If your teen is prone to cavities without orthodontia, braces could make things even more difficult. Brushing with hardware in place is difficult and requires diligence. The last thing anyone wants is a cavity to develop amid bracket- and archwire-covered teeth. This complication puts your teen at risk for oral health problems that grow bigger and more painful by the day. Even bad breath is a side effect of poor oral hygiene, which is caused by bacteria build-up on teeth and braces.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to use visual evidence of poor oral hygiene where braces are concerned. You may be able to convince a stubborn teenager that their brushing skills have everything to do with how they’ll look when their braces come off with an online search of braces-wearing teens who neglected brushing and ended up with stained, spotted, and unsightly teeth.
4. Be Supportive
Sometimes the best motivation for your teen is your support in their braces-cleaning efforts. Praise them for their hard work. Remind them that straight teeth improve appearance and boost self-confidence. Be patient and kind as your teen adjusts. Let them know that you’re in this together.
It isn’t always easy to be a teenager and an orthodontic patient. Your support can go a long way to motivating your teen to take good care of their smile now and long after their braces are removed.
Get support from your orthodontist at Soleil Orthodontics in Woodinville, WA, on this journey. Contact us to schedule a consultation.