Back-to-school Survival Guide for Braces

With a long break in between school months, summer is one of the most popular times of the year for beginning orthodontic treatment with braces. This lets kids get used to the ins and outs of the process from the comfort of home. Are you one of the many students who had braces put on this summer? If so, it’s normal to be feeling a little anxious about what to expect in the upcoming days and months. Although it’s a common concern among the children and teens we treat, adjusting to life with braces isn’t all that hard! With a little knowledge and patience, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine in no time.

Heading back to school can have you feeling nervous and excited, even before you add braces into the equation! Here at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, we want to help make the transition from summer to school time a little easier for you. That’s why our expert team has a few of our favorite tips for starting school with new braces. Keep reading below for more information on how you can get back to school with a spring in your step and confidence in your smile!

Start making lunch plans

When it comes to caring for your braces, the same basic rules apply no matter where you are. That means paying attention to things like food restrictions at home, school, and everywhere in between! To protect your brackets and wires, you already know that you should be avoiding anything too sticky or crunchy, like gum, certain types of candy, popcorn, chips, and nuts. Even though this can be frustrating, we guarantee all this effort will be worth it when remove your braces and reveal your beautiful new smile!

In the meantime, keep your treatment plan progressing on schedule by checking out your school’s menu ahead of time for braces-friendly options like spaghetti, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats. These will not only be safe for your braces, they’ll be easier for you to chew as well. This is something you’ll come to appreciate, especially after adjustment appointments.

Since pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and veggies are off the table while you’re in braces, you may be wondering what’s safe for you to snack on during the day. Luckily, there are lots of healthy options still on the menu, such as applesauce, yogurt, and bananas. These are gentle on your teeth and braces, and will also keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.

Say hello to H2O

What you choose to eat and drink throughout the day can affect your braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning to help you stay hydrated and flush out any food particles that may be stuck in your braces or teeth. Regularly drinking water can also relieve your mouth if it’s dry, something that can often happen with new braces.

Do your best to stick to plain water over sugary liquids like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks, since these can cause staining and increase your risk of developing cavities. If you do decide to indulge in a sweet drink or two, be sure to use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth and brush as soon as you’re able to!

Stay prepared with a braces kit

Minor issues can pop up with your braces occasionally, from food getting stuck in the brackets to a stray wire popping out of place. Prepare for this ahead of time by packing a braces care kit to keep in your purse, backpack, or locker! Consider including the following helpful items:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing after lunch
  • floss or ortho picks to use after lunch if you have the time (and space) to do so
  • orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any part of your braces causing irritation
  • extra rubber bands (which you’ll probably be changing frequently anyway)
  • lip balm for dry lips exacerbated by braces
  • a small cup for rinsing your mouth out after eating
  • an unsharpened pencil for the eraser end, which can be used to push any stray wires back into place

Having this small kit close to hand can save you quite a bit of time, trouble, and discomfort as you work your way towards a straight smile while attending school!

Keep your smile safe

Are you a student athlete? Do you still have regular P.E. classes? If so, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your smile. These mouthguards are specifically designed to be worn with braces, so they’re the easiest way to keep your mouth and braces safe from damage during sports or other physical activities. Orthodontic mouthguards can generally be found at most major sporting good stores, along with non-orthodontic models. If you’d rather go through our office, Dr. Chiang is happy to recommend or order a particular model for you.

Start the school year off right with Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics

At Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to providing you with an orthodontic journey that’s as rewarding and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about navigating the new school year with braces, feel free to reach out to our team at any time! We’ll do everything we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start. You deserve a straight-A smile, and we’re here to help you achieve that!