Summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment, with many parents opting to have braces put on their kids before school starts back. If you’re a new braces patient, you might be wondering what the next few months will bring as you head back to homeroom and try to adjust to student life with an orthodontic appliance. You may even be feeling a little nervous about navigating braces at school for the very first time. This is a common worry among our younger patients, but fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get used to life with braces. Before you know it, they’ll be just another part of your daily routine!
Here at Team Demas Orthodontics, we know that the beginning of a new school year is a pretty big deal. There are new friendships to explore, new teachers, to meet, new subjects to learn, and new memories to make. Wearing braces at school is just one more new thing to experience! We want to help make this one of your best years yet by giving you the tools you need to keep your orthodontic treatment on track and your smile shining brightly in the coming months. Let’s explore a few of our top tips for surviving back-to-school season when you’re new to braces!
Keep a basic braces care kit in your backpack or locker
Braces do require a little extra care and attention. You might have a minor issue or two crop up from time to time during the school day, like food getting stuck in your brackets or a stray wire poking into your cheek. Stay prepared for any braces-related dilemmas by keeping a handful of helpful items close by! One of the easiest ways to keep up with these is to find a small pouch or bag to keep them in, then put it in your locker or backpack permanently. Some of the items we recommend our patients include are:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- fluoride toothpaste
- floss or ortho picks
- orthodontic wax (to cover any areas causing irritation)
- extra rubber bands (these should be changed out frequently throughout the day)
- a small mirror (to check you don’t miss any rogue food particles in your braces)
- lip balm
- a small cup for rinsing
- an unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)
Take advantage of any short breaks you get as well as your lunch period to indulge in a bit of dental care. We recommend brushing your teeth after you eat, as well as flossing if you have the time and space to do so. If you find your braces are causing minor soreness or irritation occasionally, a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax over the problem area can provide relief, and stray wires can be pushed back into place using the eraser end of a pencil. Having items like these on hand in a pinch will save you a lot of time, trouble, and discomfort throughout your orthodontic journey, and we think anything that makes the treatment process easier belongs on the honor roll!
Bring a water bottle to school with you
There’s a reason eight glasses of water daily is the gold standard. Staying hydrated is important, and drinking water is excellent for your overall health, but did you know it’s a great way to flush out any food that’s stuck to your teeth or braces? It’s also really helpful for that dry mouth feeling that can sometimes come with newer braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout the day for the full benefits. We recommend sticking to plain water over sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks, as these can cause staining and increase the risk of cavities developing. If you do indulge in these sweet drinks from time to time, use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth.
Get familiar with your school’s lunch menu
Do you prefer buying lunch at school over bringing it from home? If so, just remember to stick to the same basic rules of braces care, including the food restrictions. To protect your braces, avoid anything too hard, sticky, or crunchy. Check out the menu ahead of time and make sure you’ll have braces-friendly options available, like pasta, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats. You should also stick to healthier snacks such as bananas, applesauce, and yogurt. These are easier on your orthodontic appliance as well as being good for you! Keep treats like gum, candy, popcorn, chips, etc. on the back burner until your braces come off. This will help prevent any potential mishaps with your braces, like breaking a bracket or wire, which is something you don’t want happening anywhere, let alone in the middle of the school day!
Invest in the right gear for gym class
If you’re a student-athlete or have regular gym or P.E. classes, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your mouth. Designed specifically to be worn with braces, these are the easiest way to save your braces from damage and your mouth from injury during physical activities. Orthodontic and non-orthodontic models are affordable, and widely available at most sporting goods stores. Dr. Demas is also happy to recommend and order one for you as well, if you prefer! Though we strongly encourage orthodontic mouthguards for our braces-wearing patients, any mouthguard is better than none at all.
Head back to school with a beautiful smile from Team Demas Orthodontics
Like any new adventure, going back to school with braces for the first time will have its own set of challenges. But if you use our tips to help you settle in, you’ll find your way to a straight-A smile in no time! Dr. Demas and the rest of our skilled staff are committed to making your transition from summer vacation into the school year as a braces patient as stress-free as possible. If you or your parents have any questions or concerns about how to best navigate having braces at school, get in touch with us. We’ll do everything we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start!