Here in Austin, the weather may feel like summer for another month or two, but the kids are heading back to school and before you know it, we’ll be Christmas shopping! We have a few more weeks before the official first day of fall, but before we drag our jackets from the back of the closet, this is the perfect time to discuss dental care during the school day with our patients who are in braces. This is an especially helpful overview for kids who are returning to school for the first time since beginning orthodontic treatment.
We’re sure you’ll be happy to know that wearing braces at school doesn’t have to be a hardship! Like any new adventure, it does come with its own set of learning curves, but with a little effort, patience, and care, it will quickly become just another part of your child’s daily routine. Bee Cave Orthodontics is excited about a new school year, and we want our patients to look forward to it, too. We’re here to help your student get back into the swing of things smoothly! Keep reading below to learn more about the 3 BEE’s of going back to school with braces.
Every student in braces should have a basic care kit handy, especially those who haven’t been wearing them for very long. Keeping a few common items in their backpack or locker will ensure your child is prepared for any braces-related dilemma that might pop up at school. Your child may want to consider including the following:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- fluoride toothpaste
- dental floss
- orthodontic wax
- lip balm
- an unsharpened pencil
These items have proven to be useful in a number of ways. Wires and brackets can sometimes cause mild irritation to the lips, gums, and cheeks. By placing a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax over the area causing a problem, your child should find some immediate relief. For wires that are poking out and into the cheeks, the eraser end of a pencil can be used to nudge them back into place. Last but not least, lip balm is a must-have for lips that are dry and irritated due to braces-wearing.
If you have a child in braces who is also a student-athlete, or one that regularly has gym or P.E. classes, an orthodontic mouthguard can be a sound investment in their overall oral health. Sports and other physical activity increase the risk of braces being damaged and the cheeks, gums, or mouth being injured. Because orthodontic mouthguards are designed specifically to be used with braces, they are one of the easiest ways to prevent any breakage or injury. These mouthguards, as well as non-orthodontic models, can generally be found at most major sporting goods stores. However, Dr. Da Silveira is happy to recommend one or order one for your child based on their specific needs.
Whether your child is at home, at school, or somewhere in between, all the same rules apply when it comes to caring for their braces, including food restrictions. Although these can be one of the biggest challenges braces patients face, it’s important to void anything crunchy, sticky, or chewy in order to protect brackets and wires. This is easy enough to manage at home where you’re in control of the menu, but the school can make things a little more complicated, particularly if your child normally buys school lunches or uses a vending machine for snacks.
To keep treatment progressing as scheduled, check the school’s lunch menu ahead of time for braces-friendly options. Look for things like lean meat, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and cooked vegetables. If you find choices tend to be limited, packing a lunch can sometimes make things simpler for your student. Invest in a Thermos and pack pasta, soups, and other soft options, or cut sandwiches into smaller bites the night before to keep things gentle on braces and easy on your child’s mouth. Yogurt and applesauce can be soothing snacks, and will help keep your child feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day.
What your child chooses to drink at school can also affect their braces. Drinking water is an easy way to keep stray food particles from sticking to the teeth and braces. Have your child carry a full water bottle to school with them in the morning and drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep their teeth clean! Encourage them to stick to plain water instead of soda, fruit juices, or other sugary drinks, as these can stain the teeth and increase the risk for cavities. For the occasional treat, have your child use a straw to keep sugars as far away from their teeth as possible.
Send your child back to school with a BEE-autiful smile from Bee Cave Orthodontics
The idea of going back to school with braces on for the first time can feel a little intimidating. Even patients who have been in braces for a while can struggle with feeling slightly more stressed than usual about going back to school. These are perfectly normal reactions to the unknown, but the good news is, being prepared, safe, and smart with their braces will help make your child’s transition from summer to school much smoother!
At Bee Cave Orthodontics, we love creating beautiful smiles for families in Austin and the surrounding communities. Dr. Da Silveira and the rest of our team are committed to providing top-quality orthodontic care to every patient we see, and we work hard to make your experience with us as rewarding and stress-free as possible. If you or your child have any questions or concerns about how to successfully navigate the new school year while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, please get in touch with us. We’ll do everything we can to set your minds at ease and keep your student’s smile on the honor roll!