Summer seems to have taken forever to arrive, and now it’s almost over! With the first official day of fall only a few weeks away and most children returning to school, now is an excellent time to discuss how to care for braces both inside and outside the classroom. This information can be extremely beneficial for students who are returning to school for the first time after beginning orthodontic treatment.
Traditional braces, like any new adventure in life, can present their own set of difficulties. Dr. Brian Miller is here to assist you in making that transition as smooth as possible! If your child is returning to school with braces, they may be nervous about what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Continue reading for some of our best tips on navigating braces as a student!
Maintain your readiness with a basic braces kit.
Any student who wears braces should keep a basic care kit in their purse, backpack, or locker. This kit can help those who are new to the treatment process feel prepared and ready to handle any minor issues that may arise during the school day. We recommend including the following items in the kit:
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Orthodontic wax
- Lip balm
- An unsharpened pencil
These items can be useful in a variety of ways. Because brackets and wires create nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and other debris, we recommend brushing after lunch and flossing briefly if time allows.
Mild irritation inside the lips, cheeks, and along the gum line is not uncommon in braces patients. A pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax applied to the problem area can be an excellent way to reduce irritation and find relief.
If a wire becomes loose and pokes the gums or cheek, use the eraser end of a pencil to nudge it back into place. For added stability, orthodontic wax can be applied to the area.
Braces frequently cause or worsen lip dryness. As a result, chapstick or lip balm is a must-have accessory for braces patients all year.
Do not deviate from the treatment plan.
The same rules apply whether a patient is at school, home, or anywhere in between. This is especially true when it comes to food restrictions, which can be one of the most difficult learning curves associated with braces. School can make it even more difficult for kids to choose braces-safe lunches and snacks! When parents are in charge of grocery shopping, managing food restrictions at home is simple, but it can be more difficult if a patient prefers school lunches or has regular access to a vending machine.
Check the school’s lunch menu every week for braces-friendly options like lean meat, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and cooked vegetables to keep orthodontic treatment on track. Packing a lunch for picky eaters can sometimes make life easier for both the patient and the parent! If you have a Thermos, pasta, soups, and other soft options are great, while sandwiches can be cut into smaller bites the night before for easier chewing. This is especially useful following adjustment appointments, when a child’s mouth may be tender.
Even though braces patients must avoid foods such as pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of healthy alternatives, including applesauce, yogurt, cheese strings, and bananas. These are gentle on braces and will keep children feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day.
Lunchtime considerations go beyond food. What a child drinks at school can have an impact on their oral health just as much as what they eat. Drinking from a water bottle throughout the day keeps children hydrated and keeps food particles away from their teeth and braces. Stick to plain water and avoid soda and fruit juices. These liquids can stain teeth and increase the likelihood of cavities. They can also leave unsightly white marks on the teeth, which are frequently revealed only after the braces are removed. When a sweet drink is all you want, use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth and brush as soon as possible.
An orthodontic mouthguard is recommended for student athletes or children who have regular P.E. classes. A properly fitted orthodontic mouthguard is designed to be worn with braces and will protect the braces as well as the child’s mouth during sports and other physical activities. Orthodontic mouth guards, as well as non-orthodontic models, are usually available at major sporting goods stores. Dr. Miller is also happy to recommend or order one for patients and parents who prefer to come to our office.
Begin the school year on a positive note with a smile from Newton and Concord Family Orthodontics.
It’s normal for children to be nervous about returning to school with new braces, especially if they don’t know what to expect. Even patients who have had braces for a while may experience some anxiety at first! The good news is that, with a little patience, braces will quickly become just another part of your child’s daily routine.
At Newton & Concord Orthodontics, we are committed to making every patient’s orthodontic journey a positive and stress-free experience. If you need help navigating the new school year while wearing braces, our expert team is here to help! Every child deserves a perfect smile, and we are honored to assist your child in achieving just that.