July 31, 2019
Beginning orthodontic treatment during summer is popular with parents and students alike, since it gives them a long break in between school months to adjust from the comfort of home. If you’re one of the many students who had braces put on over the summer, you might not be sure what to expect from the school year ahead. This is a common concern among the children and teens we treat here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, but don’t worry – with a little patience, braces will be just one more part of your daily routine before you know it!
You may already be feeling nervous and excited about getting back into the rhythm of a new school year, and that’s before adding new braces into the equation. That’s why our team decided to create this expert guide for surviving school with your braces and your confidence intact! For tips on making the most of your braces treatment during the school year, keep reading below.
Many braces patients have minor issues pop up from time to time, whether it’s food getting stuck in your braces at an inopportune time or a stray wire poking into your cheek or gums. You can prepare for this ahead of time by packing a DIY braces kit to keep in your purse, backpack, or locker! Some of the helpful items we recommend including are:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing after lunch
- floss or ortho picks to use after lunch if you’re able to do so
- orthodontic wax to cover any part of your braces that’s causing irritation
- extra rubber bands (you’re likely to be changing these frequently already)
- lip balm for dry lips
- an unsharpened pencil for the eraser end, which can be used to push any stray wires back into place
Having a small kit of braces basics like this nearby can save you quite a bit of time and discomfort should any unforeseen orthodontic issues occur during the school day.
Keep your braces and teeth safe
Are you a student athlete, or do you play sports in your community? Do you still have regular P.E. classes at school? If so, we recommend using an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your smile when you’re on the field or the court. These mouthguards are simple to use and designed specifically to be worn with braces, so they provide a comfortable fit even during treatment. They’re also proven to be the single most effective way to keep your mouth and braces safe from damage during sports or other physical activities.
Orthodontic mouthguards can be found at most major sporting good stores, along with non-orthodontic models. If you’d rather go through our office, our doctors are happy to recommend or order one for you.
Make lunch plans ahead of time
The same rules apply to braces care wherever you are, so it’s important to pay attention to what you’re eating at home, school, and everywhere in between! Although the food restrictions that come with braces can be frustrating, they’re necessary to protect your brackets and wires, and will be more than worth it when we remove your braces and reveal your beautiful new smile!
In the meantime, keep your treatment on track by regularly checking your school’s menu for braces-friendly options. Foods like spaghetti, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats are orthodontist-approved for braces. They also tend to be easier for you to chew, which is something you’ll come to appreciate (especially after adjustment appointments.)
Don’t forget about snacks! Even with pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and veggies off the table while you’re in braces, you have plenty of healthy options that are safe to snack on. This includes applesauce, yogurt, bananas, and other foods that are gentle on your teeth and braces.
Aim for 8 ounces a day
What you choose to eat isn’t the only thing that can affect your braces and oral health. What you drink throughout the day can, too! Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and try to drink from it throughout the day. This will not only help you stay hydrated, it can also be useful in flushing out any food particles that are stuck in your braces or teeth. If you suffer from a dry mouth, you may find that braces exacerbate it. Regular sips of water will give you some relief from this, as well.
There’s no denying that we live in a country that loves its sugary liquids. Although you may be tempted, try your best to avoid drinking sodas, fruit juice, or sports drinks, at least while you’re in braces. These can cause staining and increase your risk of developing cavities, so aim for plain water whenever possible! If you do indulge in a sweet drink or two, just be sure to use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth and brush as soon as you’re able to.
Get through this school year with a smile from Central Virginia Orthodontics
Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we want your orthodontic journey to be as rewarding and stress-free as possible. We have a talented team working hard to provide you with trusted information, reliable resources, and experienced support from your first appointment to your last!
If you have any questions or concerns about navigating this school year with braces, feel free to get in touch with us any time so we can set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start with your new braces. Your smile deserves a place on the honor roll, and we’re here to help you achieve that!