Braces are almost a rite of passage, unless your child was born with a perfectly straight set of teeth. The reality is that many adolescents undergo this orthodontic treatment. And, when the hard part—the years of actually wearing the braces—is over, it may feel like freedom for your child and their teeth.
To celebrate, your kid might want to eat all the food they’ve been deprived of when they had their braces on. As a parent, it’s important for you to remind them that, while there’s room for indulging every now and then, maintaining their oral health post-braces is just as important as when they had the apparatus on their pearly whites.
My child’s braces are off. Now what?
As mentioned earlier, some kids want to go crazy on sweet, sticky, hard-to-eat treats after they get their braces removed. There’s only so much your pediatric dentist in Utah County can do, so it’s your job to moderate their behavior once they’re out of the dentist’s clinic.
After getting their braces off, you might want to discourage them from eating the food they weren’t allowed to eat when they had the braces on. First, because your child’s teeth are going to be slightly sensitive right after their braces are removed. This tenderness may last for a day or two.
Second, you should encourage your child to understand the importance of keeping the progress they’ve made in their oral health. This means eating foods that are good for the teeth. Additionally, once you had your final appointment to remove your child’s braces, it is very likely that they will still need to wear retainers.
Does my child really need retainers?
Perfect smiles don’t happen overnight. Even after the braces have come off, the process continues. Retainers are key if you want to ensure that the newly-straightened teeth remain in place. The apparatus can be fixed or removable, and are, thankfully, not as invasive as braces.
If your child doesn’t wear retainers, their teeth might naturally realign over time, undoing the progress that years of wearing braces has made.
So, does your child really need retainers? Yes, if they want to keep the beautiful smiles that their braces helped to create.
What foods can my child eat and cannot eat?
Much like when they still had braces, it’s best if you keep your child from eating overly crunchy or chewy food. Food that is too hot or freezing cold should also be avoided. As mentioned above, their teeth are going to be sensitive for a few days after the removal of the braces, so it’s better to avoid unnecessarily aggravating that tenderness.
Treat your child to a hearty burger meal or an Italian affair in the first few days post-braces. The soft beef patty, soft bun, and slightly crunchy vegetables in a burger are manageable enough to eat. The soft bread in pizza, the soft grains of cooked pasta, and loads of cheese and tomato from an Italian feast are also good for your child’s newly-liberated teeth.
When your child’s teeth aren’t sensitive anymore, you can re-introduce previously-forbidden food into their diet, as long as they consume those in moderation.
It’s All About Following Through
It goes without saying that having braces is hard, but the rewards of a great smile and healthy teeth are well worth all the effort. Your child earned the right to celebrate, so go for it. Just keep reminding them that maintenance is important and continue cultivating great oral habits for a lifelong beautiful smile.