A straight smile is highly desirable, and many adolescents wear braces in order to shift teeth and achieve a properly aligned smile. Orthodontic care is not cheap, so if you invest in braces for your child, you are sure to want the best results possible. Use the following tips to help your child care for his or her braces:

Frequent Brushing

After your child has his or her braces put on, more frequent brushing will be required. Explain to your child that in addition to brushing teeth in the morning and before bed, it is also important to brush after each meal or snack. Brushing often will help remove any food or debris that becomes lodged in the brackets of the braces, preventing tooth decay or discoloration. Purchase a toothbrush with soft bristles, and make sure your child is using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. 

No Chewing Gum or Sticky Treats

Chewing gum or indulging in sweet, sticky candy or treats is not recommended while wearing braces. Inform your adolescent that consuming these products can pull brackets off of his or her teeth, which can lead to him or her having to wear braces for a longer period of time in order to achieve optimal results. If your child has a sweet tooth, have treats such as pudding or jello on hand, as they are safe to eat while wearing braces.

Report Broken Braces or Brackets Immediately

The integrity of orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth relies on having braces that are placed correctly in order to gradually shift the teeth. But it is not uncommon for a bracket to break, or for braces to become loose for a number of different reasons. Let your child know that it is important to report any problem with his or her braces immediately, so you can book an appointment with the orthodontists to have the braces fixed. 

Always Wear Appliances as Prescribed 

Your adolescent's orthodontist may recommend the use of elastics, head gear, retainers, or other orthodontic devices; these appliances may not always be comfortable or visually appealing, but your child needs to know that it is extremely important to carefully follow the orthodontist's instructions if he or she wants to get his or her braces removed on schedule. Once the braces are off, emphasize that a retainer must be worn to prevent the teeth from shifting again; if you worry that your teen will not wear a retainer regularly, ask the orthodontist about permanent retainer options.

If you have more questions about caring for braces, ask a professional like Aspen Orthodontics.