There may still be a few weeks of summer left before the first official day of fall, but most kids are saying goodbye to lazy days by the pool and getting ready to head back to school. As we prepare to settle down into the routine of a new school year, it’s a good time to talk about caring for braces during the school day, especially for kids who started treatment with Bluebird Orthodontics over the summer!
Wearing braces at school comes with its own set of ups and downs, but the good news is, it will become just another part of your child’s daily routine before you know it. In the beginning, however, your child may be a little anxious because they aren’t sure what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Not to worry! With a little patience, practice, and support from our team, your child will make the transition from summer to school like a pro. Keep reading below for our best tips on surviving the school year in braces!
Stay prepared with a braces care kit
We recommend all braces patients keep a kit with them at school, both for proper braces care and in case any minor issues pop up during the day. A small bag of basics like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik will help your child keep their teeth and braces clean at school. You may also consider adding helpful items like:
- Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that’s similar to orthodontic wax
- An over-the-counter pain reliever, for any swelling or soreness (be sure to check with Dr. Frank first, though)
- An unsharpened pencil or two – the eraser end can be used to push any protruding wires back into place
With this small kit in their backpack, purse, or locker, your child will have easy access to it anytime it’s needed.
DIY braces care
As we briefly mentioned above, it’s not unusual for minor problems to crop up with your child’s braces from time to time. Although this can be annoying, many of these issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items. Here’s how you can help your child handle DIY braces care when they’re on the go!
General mouth irritation
If your child is experiencing any non-specific irritation in their cheeks, lips, or gums, orthodontic wax is an easy way to get some relief! Have them make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball, then place it over the source of irritation.
Wires can come loose sometimes, aggravating the inside of your child’s mouth. This can be fixed with a simple pencil by using the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. A piece of orthodontic wax can also be placed over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some extra stability.
If your child has a loose bracket, it’s important to let us know about it as soon as possible so we can help you decide what the next step needs to be. In the meantime, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also help add stability.
Keep our contact details close by
As a braces patient, there are lots of situations your child can handle on their own. However, they may sometimes experience a problem that requires immediate attention. Make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere, including phone numbers and our email address. If your child does happen to run into an unexpected orthodontic problem at school, give us a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through what you both need to do next.
Stay on track with braces-friendly lunches and snacks
Food restrictions can be a challenge for kids in braces, especially in the beginning. While this is relatively easy to manage from home, since you control the menu, it can be a bit trickier if your child normally buys lunch at school or has regular access to a vending machine.
To keep your child’s treatment plan on track, check the school’s lunch menu every week for braces-friendly options. If healthy choices are limited or you have a picky eater, packing a lunch can sometimes make life easier for both of you! Pasta and soups are good options if you have a Thermos, or cut sandwiches into smaller bites the night before to make them easier to chew. Snacks like soft cheese, yogurt, and applesauce can also be great additions to your child’s lunch bag. They’re not only gentle on braces, but will help keep kids feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.
What a child chooses to drink at school can also have an effect on their braces. Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and also wash food particles from their teeth and braces. Sticking to plain water instead of soda, fruit juices, or other sugary drinks will you reduce staining and the risk of developing cavities.
Don’t forget your regular dental hygiene routine
We know that the start of a new school year can be really hectic, but when it comes to wearing braces, maintaining good oral hygiene is important. The brackets and wires create nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and other debris, so we encourage all braces patients to brush after lunch, along with a quick floss if your child has the time. Your child should also be brushing in the morning and before bed for at least two minutes each time, flossing nightly, and using a waterpik regularly if they have one.
Head back to school with a smile from Bluebird Orthodontics
It’s completely normal for your child to feel nervous about going back to school with braces on, especially if they’ve never done so before. Even patients who have been in braces for a while might feel a little more anxious than normal as they gear up for a new school year!
Fortunately, being in braces at school doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you do run into any difficulties, or just want to talk through questions and concerns about your child’s treatment plan, Bluebird Orthodontics is here for you! Dr. Frank and the rest of our expert team are committed to giving your child the healthy smile they deserve throughout the year.