Head Back to School with Braces
Going back to school after summer break is bittersweet. A return to school signals the end of summer fun, but it’s also great to see friends and get back to a routine.
Heading back to school feels a little bit different if you’re returning with a new smile. Getting braces over the summer may leave you with questions about the realities of returning to school.
To help you acclimate to your orthodontic treatment during the school day, here are some tips from your Tallahassee orthodontist.
Bring A Care Kit With You
You’ll need to take care of your braces and teeth during the school day, so pack all the tools you need. Put a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lip balm, a small mirror, extra elastics and wax in a small bag. Keep the bag in your locker, backpack or desk. Use the hygiene tools to clean your mouth after meals. The wax is great for battling minor irritations, and having extra elastics on hand will ensure your treatment stays on course. Nothing is worse than experiencing mouth discomfort at school!
Use a Mirror
It’s easy for food particles to become lodged between your teeth. Leaving them there all day at school isn’t good oral hygiene, and it’s embarrassing. You don’t want to flash a huge smile to your friends, only to discover later that a piece of food was stuck in the front. Use your compact mirror to clean food from your teeth and prevent awkward social scenarios.
Take care to eat right while at school. You don’t want to damage your orthodontic appliance by eating the wrong types of food. Stay away from anything that’s hard, chewy, sticky or difficult to bite into. If you normally eat in your school’s cafeteria, check the menu each week to ensure they are serving a meal that’s safe for braces. If not, look for alternatives to your favorites. For example, opt for a banana or applesauce instead of an apple. Soft, cooked vegetables are better than raw carrots or celery. Yogurts and cheeses are also great options for your lunchbox. Avoid pretzels, nuts, chips and sports drinks. And be sure to cut your food into small pieces instead of biting with your teeth.
Up Your Water Intake
Drinking water will help keep your mouth clean. The water will rinse small particles from your mouth which can cause decay. Just be sure you’re drinking water and not sugary drinks like soda or juice as these beverages will do more harm than good and they can possibly stain your teeth. The area covered by the brackets will be much whiter than the exposed areas once your braces are removed. If you do decide to have a sugary drink, use a straw to keep the liquid from touching your teeth.
Protect Your Teeth
If you play sports, take steps to protect your teeth with a mouth guard. The guard will keep your braces and teeth safe during practices and games. Just be certain to find one that fits over your braces allows you to breathe clearly and speak easily.
Try Out Your Instrument
Musicians who play woodwinds or brass instruments may have to become accustomed to playing while wearing braces. Be sure to speak with your band or orchestra teacher if you experience difficulty or discomfort. He or she can likely help you find ways to make playing with your orthodontics more comfortable.
Have an After-School Treat
Returning to school with braces can be a social challenge. You may feel different or even that everyone is staring at your teeth. Chances are though, your friends won’t even notice the difference. Even so, the first week of school can be hard. Have a special treat like a milkshake or smoothie, some ice cream or cake when you get home from school. It’s OK to spoil yourself a little in the beginning!
Have more questions about returning to school with braces? Please don’t hesitate to contact our office for more tips. We’d love to help you adjust to your orthodontic treatment!