Kids everywhere are returning to school with new clothes, backpacks and even face masks! For some students, it may also mean starting the school year with braces. If your child recently got braces, it is important he or she stays on track with an orthodontic treatment plan.
We’ve included some helpful tips and reminders to encourage children to care for their braces during the school year.
Braces require special care, so it is important that children have everything they need to keep their teeth clean and comfortable during the school day. Put together a small bag of essentials — such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, a small mirror, floss, extra rubber bands and dental wax — that your child can store in his or her backpack or locker. After lunch, remind your child to brush and floss to prevent the buildup of food and plaque around brackets and wires. With all the necessary supplies in one place, kids can properly care for their teeth on the go while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Teeth and braces need special protection during physical activities. Don’t forget to include a mouthguard in your child’s school bag that can be worn while playing sports. This will help shield his or her mouth and braces from damage. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about custom mouthguards designed for braces.
At the start of the school year, children should be reminded about certain foods that can damage their braces. Foods that are hard, crunchy or sticky can break wires and brackets, which will require additional appointments and lengthen treatment time. Instead, encourage your child to check the school lunch menu each week for foods that are braces-friendly — such as spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or cooked vegetables. Packing lunch at home is also a great way to help ensure youngsters get a nutritious meal that will benefit their body and oral health. Soft foods such as pastas, soups, apple sauce, yogurts and sandwiches cut into smaller bites are safe options for braces.
Make it easy for your child to drink plenty of water by sending him or her to school with a water bottle. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to stay hydrated while also benefiting your child’s oral health. Sipping water throughout the day helps rinse food particles and plaque that become trapped in wires and brackets. Conversely, limit sugary beverages (e.g., soda and sports drinks) that promote decay and can cause stains when brackets are removed at the end of treatment.
Wearing braces can feel like a huge responsibility for children — but it doesn’t have to be. If your child has questions or concerns, talk to your dentist. We can provide the proper tools and tips to make caring for braces at school a breeze. If your braces ever break, let us know right away so that we can repair your damaged brackets or wires to keep your treatment plan on track.
Remember, it is normal to feel nervous about starting the school year with braces. The process for achieving straighter, healthier teeth takes time — but with a little extra care, the results are worth it!