If your child has braces you may be wondering how long they will need to keep them on.
The length of time braces will be on usually depends on the problem that is being treated. Most braces are on for one to three years. While years in braces may sound unpleasant, it’s important to have the treatment for a healthy mouth!
If you’re looking for ways to get your or your kid’s braces off faster, check out some tips below:
Good oral hygiene helps get braces off faster
Practicing good oral hygiene is important for the health of your mouth. A good cleaning routine may also help get braces off faster! Here are four things your kids can do to keep their mouth clean:
Rinse with water after each meal
It’s easy for food to become lodged in braces after eating. This stray food creates more opportunities for plaque to form. Plaque that is not removed may create pockets of decay behind the braces. A quick rinse can dislodge and remove this loose food when they don’t have a moment to brush.
Brush their teeth twice a day
Staying with a regular regimen of brushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste will help keep the mouth clean and braces free of debris.
Pro tip: Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste when traveling away from home. For children, bringing a toothbrush to school can help keep their braces clean during the school day.
Flossing with braces can be difficult, however, it’s an important step in taking care of your child’s oral health. Talk to your orthodontist if you have questions about flossing with braces. They may have recommendations for flossing tools that are safe and effective for braces.
Get regular teeth cleanings
Just because your child has braces and visits the orthodontist doesn’t mean they can forgo their normal teeth cleaning schedule! It’s important that your child continues to see their dentist twice a year for preventative cleanings, even with braces on.
Watch what your kids eat with braces
While it’s imperative that parents and children are familiar with behaviors that can help get braces off faster, it’s also important for them to understand behaviors that may prolong treatment. One of these harmful behaviors is disregarding food restrictions. Food restrictions with braces may not be fun but ignoring them can damage braces and make them less effective.
Food restrictions with braces
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep hard, chewy, sticky, and crunchy foods away from your kids with orthodontia. This includes foods such as:
- Bagels and hard rolls
- Caramel and gum
- Hard candy
- Other sugary foods that cause plaque and bacteria buildup
Some foods, such as corn on the cob or apples, are notorious for causing damage to braces.
Biting into these foods causes extreme pressure on the front of your teeth and, consequently, the brackets and wires on the outside of your front teeth. This may cause damage to your child’s orthodontic appliances.
To continue to eat these types of foods, cut or prepare them in a more manageable size and consistency. That could mean cutting into bite-sized pieces, or even mashing into a smoother consistency, like applesauce!
Follow the orthodontist’s instructions to get braces off faster
Listening to your child’s orthodontist is important when it comes to getting their braces off sooner. Take the time to understand how to care for the braces and create routines that support this care.
Set up a routine for braces care
As a parent, you’ll need to remind them about their elastics and rubber bands, how to brush properly, how to floss properly, and so much more. To make it easier on yourself, create a “braces care” routine for your child to follow each day.
Start by writing it all down on paper. Include the time of day for each event, like brushing or replacing rubber bands. You can even set reminders on your phone until it all becomes a habit for you and your child. It’s much easier and far more manageable if you and your kids know exactly what they’re supposed to do and when.
Orthodontic appointments are important
Don’t skip any appointments or follow-ups with the orthodontist. These are the times that your orthodontist can check for any problems that may prolong treatment. If your child has an orthodontic emergency, for example, if a wire or bracket breaks, have it taken care of as quickly as possible.
Less time in braces is possible
If you and your kids follow these three tips, at worst, they should get their braces off when they’re supposed to. At best, you may even shave a few months off treatment time. Not following these tips can seriously impact your braces regimen, adding months or even years to the time in braces.
Each mouth reacts to braces differently, but following the advice of the orthodontist, creating a good daily routine, eating the proper foods, and practicing good oral hygiene should help your kids get their braces off faster.
*Updated July 2023