Can you believe a new school year is already upon us? How time flies. Preparing for a brand new school term can be exciting for kids and parents. However, if your child recently started orthodontic treatment during the long summer break, going back to school wearing braces may feel daunting and somewhat stressful.
Don’t worry. Adjusting to wearing braces at school isn’t that hard. With a little patience, braces will soon become one more part of your child’s daily routine.
At Foxbury Dental we’re here for you. In this post, we’ll provide a ton of practical tips and insights to make this school year a success. From brace-friendly snacks and lunches to building self-esteem, our handy tips will provide you with the information to help your child survive the academic year with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. So, let’s get started.
Tip #1 – Eat smart
Possibly, one of the hardest things for new brace wearers to get used to is food limitations, and going back to school can make this seem even more daunting. While it’s frustrating, food restrictions are often necessary to prevent damage to brackets and wires that can lead to discomfort and a delay in your child’s orthodontic treatment. Don’t forget to remind your child that all their efforts will be worth it when their braces are removed to reveal a beautiful new smile.
Meanwhile, regularly check your child’s school lunch menu ahead of time so you can help with food choices and keep their orthodontic treatment progressing. Look for brace-friendly foods like cooked or soft vegetables, lean meat, mashed potatoes, soups, smoothies, hummus and even pasta (a top tip is to cut it into small pieces to avoid it getting stuck in the braces). Basically, avoid foods that are sticky, crunchy or chewy.
If there are no suitable choices on the menu, then a packed lunch is easier for everyone. Prepping the food at night will give you time to cut it into bite-sized pieces, minimising the level of food trapped in the braces. Doing so will also make it easier for your child to brush and floss with braces.
If you’re wondering what’s healthy and safe for your child to snack on throughout the day, bananas and yoghurts are gentle on teeth and braces and will keep them satisfied.
Tip #2 – Be prepared
Like a good boy scout, your child should be prepared for any problems that crop up during their school day – whether it’s a stray wire poking out or food getting lodged in their braces. We recommend all students have a braces kit they can keep in their backpack or locker because you never know when these things may crop up. A pencil case with a zipper is the perfect size for a braces kit and should include the following items
- A soft-bristled toothbrush (with case) and a travel-size tube of fluoride toothpaste – Your child needs to be able to brush after a snack or lunch.
- Waxed dental floss (unwaxed floss can easily shred and get stuck in braces) – Along with brushing after eating, flossing is another important habit to incorporate into your child’s orthodontic treatment routine. Having the correct tools to hand makes it easier for your child to remain on top of their oral hygiene.
- Lip balm for dry lips – Chapped lips often occur when braces are first fitted as the lips have to stretch wider to cover the teeth. Lip balm or petroleum jelly will help soothe dry lips.
- Orthodontic wax – Covers any parts of the brace that are causing irritation, (particularly if a wire snaps) – until an orthodontic appointment can be made for your child.
- Extra rubber bands – It’s not uncommon for braces’ elastic bands to snap or get lost at school. In any case, they should be changed several times a day.
- Small mirror – A small mirror enables your child to quickly check their appearance for any food particles lodged between or around their brackets and avoids embarrassment, ensuring they can smile confidently.
Creating a small kit your child can have close to hand will save them time, discomfort and embarrassment should any issues arise during school time.
Tip #3 – Stay hydrated
Drinking water is an important part of orthodontic treatment. Not only does water help prevent dry mouth (which often occurs with new braces) but it also flushes away food particles and cleans the dental appliance.
Encourage your child to take a full bottle of water to school with them and drink it throughout the day. It’s a healthier option than sugary drinks like sports drinks and soda, which coat the teeth and braces with sugar and acid that can stain the teeth and result in white spots (lesions) when the braces are removed.
Tip #4 – Protect teeth
Whether your child is a keen athlete, attends regular gym classes or enjoys swimming, we recommend investing in an orthodontic mouthguard to protect their braces and their smile. Playing sports and other physical activities heightens the risk of damage to the brace or your child’s mouth, teeth or cheeks being injured.
In fact, accidents during sports are linked to between 13% and 39% of dental injuries and account for 25% of children injuring or losing front teeth.
An orthodontic mouthguard acts as a shock absorber so if your child suffers any impact to the mouth, their teeth will be protected. It’s also designed specifically for brace wearers and provides a comfortable fit even during treatment. Such mouthguards can usually be sourced from good sports stores and come in a wide range of colours and sizes, so children feel excited and comfortable about wearing them. You can even ask your dentist for recommendations.
Start the school year with a smile from Foxbury Dental
Here at Foxbury Dental, we try to make every patient’s orthodontic treatment as easy and stress-free as possible. We’re here to provide you and your child with reliable resources, trusted information and experienced support throughout the treatment process.
If you have any questions about going back to school with braces, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to set your mind at ease and ensure your child gets off to a flying start with their braces. They deserve a ‘gold star’ smile and we’re here to help them achieve it.