Where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe, but summer is fading away and a brand new school year is under way. Many of our patients’ new school attire includes braces and they are returning to school with a new experience. Dr. Brad Gilbert, Dr. Adam Wells and our staff want all of our school-aged patients wearing braces, to have a smooth transition into the classroom and new school year. At SmilesForever Orthodontics, our goal is to make treatment as easy and as enjoyable as possible. If your child is going back to school for the first time with braces, we’ve put together some tips below for making this adjustment easier.
Keeping Lunches & Snacks Braces-Friendly
Foods that are sticky, chewy and crunchy must be avoided to prevent damage to wires and braces. While it’s easier to avoid at home, if your child buys their lunches at school, indulging in some of their favorite forbidden foods can be a pretty strong temptation. Simply checking the school’s lunch menu each week, and making sure it includes braces-friendly options like spaghetti, chili or mac and cheese, is a great start to making sure there’s something safe for your child to eat.
If you find the school lunch choices are limited, packing a lunch can make things easier for them. Healthier foods and snacks like chicken salad, cheese yogurt and applesauce are gentle on the braces and can help your child feel full throughout the day. Prepping the night before, by cutting foods into bite sized pieces, and thinly slicing fruits and vegetables, can be a time saver in the mornings and help make it easier to chew and eat for orthodontic patients.
Take Along A Braces Care Kit
It’s ideal for patients to brush after eating since braces and wires can trap food particles. We recommend patients carry a braces care kit with them at school. For any braces related issues that may pop up during the day, having a few common items on hand in their backpack or school locker can keep them prepared to handle them confidently. Some of the Items we’ve found best to include are:
- Soft-Bristled Orthodontic Toothbrush
- Dental Wax
- Dental Floss
- Floss Threaders
- Lip Balm
- Orthodontic Elastics (If prescribed)
A comfortable orthodontic patient equals a more focused student! For lips that become dry and irritated from braces and appliances, we find that lip balm is a definite must-have! A small amount of dental wax can be placed over dental brackets and wires that sometimes can cause mild irritation to lips, gums and cheeks.
Have our orthodontists prescribed elastics for your child to wear during treatment? Keeping an extra bag of orthodontic elastics in their care kit, locker and backpack will make it much more convenient to replace worn bands after eating lunch and snacks.
Oh, Mirror, Mirror On The Locker Wall!
Admit it! We’ve all experienced that moment. THE MOMENT when we look in the mirror and realize we’ve gone about our afternoon talking, smiling and laughing - only to realize we’ve had a food particle stuck in our teeth, SINCE LUNCH! Many of us are too polite to point out when someone has food stuck in their braces or teeth. Encourage your student to carry a small mirror with them or place one on the inside of a locker. Checking their teeth after eating can help them in avoiding feeling self-conscious. Even sticking to braces-friendly foods, eating with braces and wires can be tricky. Nooks and crannies can easily trap food debris, which can cause your child embarrassment when noticed by others.
Have A Mouthguard On-Hand
Protect that smile! Whether you have a student-athlete or your child or teen has recess or gym class, investing in an orthodontic mouthguard while in braces is highly recommended. Sports and other physical activities can increase the risk of injury to your child’s lips, cheeks and mouths as well as damaging braces. Because they are specially designed to wear with braces, orthodontic mouthguards are the simplest way to ensure oral health and prevent injury. These specialized mouthguards do not form to the teeth and are NOT the take home and boil guards typically sold at sporting goods stores. Though sometimes available at stores, for our patient’s convenience, we also offer these for purchase at our front desk. We’ve pinned our recommended care kit list and reminder on our Taking Care Of Your Teeth And Braces Pinterest board.
Starting The School Year Off Right
You may want to head over to our SmilesForever Orthodontics Pinterest page to check out our Braces-Friendly School Lunches board for nutritious and yummy ideas. While you’re there, be sure to also check out our Taking Care of Your Teeth and Braces board for our Braces Care Kit flier of recommendations!
With a little encouragement and patience, your child can conquer the school year with a healthy, shining smile! When braces are new, it’s completely normal to feel nervous returning to school. After all, it’s a brand new experience! Working towards a healthier and straighter smile takes time and effort, but it won’t take long for it to become familiar to your child and they will adjust and adapt quickly. To become and remain active in their orthodontic journey, it’s important for patients to stay informed. Knowledge often creates a strong desire to do our best! Our SmilesForever Orthodontics doctors and staff are ready to help you and your child navigate a new school year with braces and we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Our existing and new patients are always welcome to call or drop by our Dacula, Duluth, Flowery Branch and Loganville, GA locations.
We wish all of our student-patients a happy, healthy and successful 2021-2022 school year!
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