Braces are a significant investment for anyone. They cost a lot of money and need to be worn for a long time to reach their full effect. Retainers help preserve that investment and ensure that your shiny and smooth new smile lasts as long as possible.
Although the primary purpose of retainers is to maintain the alignment of teeth after wearing braces for a long time, if your kid wears their retainer correctly, as their orthodontist advises, the advantages can go far beyond that. Believe it or not, wearing a retainer can help to smooth out potential speech problems. For most kids, the most challenging part of dealing with the retainer is losing it. Kids have been known to lose their retainers in all sorts of places, ranging from under the bed, to in their parent’s trashcan, to on the floor of the school cafeteria!
It’s essential to help kids develop proper retainer habits, both for the good of their teeth, and also so they can and experience all the other benefits that the retainer brings with it. Learning to take care of their retainer can teach a child responsibility and help earn them some points from their orthodontist.
Why Should Your Child Wear a Retainer?
Retainers are usually worn after orthodontic treatment, such as braces or alignment trays. After the treatment device has been removed, the teeth can move back into their original position if not reinforced by some form of retainer. Protect your investment of both time and money by making sure the retainer is worn as instructed by your orthodontist.
More Benefits of Retainers
Retainers can help treat speech impediments by adjusting tongue placement so that kids can form sounds in the correct ways as they learn to speak new words.
When teeth are correctly aligned, this makes them easier to brush, floss, and clean. It also helps to improve chewing when teeth are properly aligned, and there is no overbite or underbite. When children can chew their food better, their bodies are better able to process nutrients, which results in better overall health. The mouth is also able to produce more saliva, which provides essential digestive enzymes that the body relies on to reduce plaque accumulation and prevent cavities from forming.
According to the American Diabetes Association, poor mouth health can make the related effects of diabetes worse. By wearing a retainer properly, brushing daily, flossing regularly, and rinsing with a mouthwash, people can help reduce specific diabetes-related issues.
Try These Tips to Help Your Child Care for Their Retainer:
- Purchase a retainer storage case and keep the retainer case inside of that case. You could use a bag with the child’s favorite action hero, or a purse that is your daughter’s favorite color. If the case is more exciting and not awkward looking the child is more likely to carry it with them and less likely to lose it.
- Try Including a personalized note on the retainer case. This will let your child know that you’re thinking of them and can also help them remember to take care of their retainer.
- It helps to keep the retainer in one spot all the time.
- You can also take ideas from the tooth fairy! Leave your child something nice under their pillow each night they wear the retainer, especially during the first week. This encouragement helps to establish a positive emotional connection with wearing the retainer.
General Tips That Can Help When Wearing a Retainer:
• Be sure to floss daily. Most dentists and orthodontists agree that flossing regularly is very important to dental health. If you have recently had orthodontic treatment, you must keep your teeth clean to prevent any further decay from occurring.
• Wear a mouth guard if participating in contact sports or other vigorous athletic activities. Just as wearing a retainer is vital in preserving the benefits of braces, wearing a mouthguard is also essential to protect both your teeth and your orthodontic appliances.
• Use mouthwash regularly. Mouthwash can help prevent cavities, prevent gum disease, and kill bacteria that could potentially harm the mouth or the teeth.
• Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect the teeth. It’s important not to get so wrapped up in the complexities of dental treatments that we forget the basics!
Wearing a retainer isn’t something that comes naturally to anyone, so it’s important that as parents, we do all that we can help our kids remember to wear them. It’s also essential that they learn to take personal responsibility for the device and not lose it. Whenever this gets difficult, remember that your child will have an improved smile for the rest of their life!