Back-To-School ads are off and running as summer winds down and a busy school year is on the horizon. If your child is also beginning the school year wearing braces, that will likely involve a huge adjustment for your child or teen. There will be dietary adjustments to make, extra care taken when practicing their daily dental hygiene routine, and wondering how their friends and other classmates will react to their new look in braces.
But with a little preparation and care, you can make this transition as comfortable for them as possible and easier for them to navigate. You’re probably already busy helping them acquire new clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies.
Tip: If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to get their routine checkup and dental cleaning out of the way so they can start the new school year ready for those school photos!
Getting Used to Braces
Here’s our advice for helping your child who is wearing braces this school year to get accustomed to their shifting teeth as smoothly as possible.
- Sticking to soft food choices like mashed potatoes, pasta, soups, stews, smoothies, yogurt and ice cream is necessary after routine braces adjustments. The rest of the time, they will still need to steer clear of hard or crunchy foods that can damage their braces hardware. They also need to replace sugary and starchy snacks with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain crackers, sugar-free gum, and cheeses.
- They will need to be more diligent with their daily brushing and flossing because it’s easier for food particles and bacterial plaque to hide between braces parts. They can do a good job of cleaning around these parts by using an electric toothbrush as well as interdental brushes and flossing picks. Stock up on whatever they need to keep in their backpack to use after school lunch or snacks.
- Tuck orthodontic wax into a zip lock baggie filled with other dental tools into their backpack, along with toothpaste, a toothbrush and extra elastics as part of a braces care kit. The wax effectively protects sensitive oral tissues when wires are poking the mouth. The wax is soft and easy to roll between their fingers and then place it over the braces hardware that is irritating them.
- If your child is active in sports throughout the school year, they should be wearing a protective mouthguard over their braces. It saves the braces as well as your child’s teeth and soft oral tissues against injury from impact, just as goggles protect their eyes.
- Make sure your child keeps a water bottle in their backpack for easy hydration and to rinse out trapped oral debris that keeps their breath fresher and tooth decay away. In fact, consuming sugary drinks like fruit juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, and soda can lead to cavities while wearing braces.
- While your child is wearing braces, it’s important to detect and treat cavities early before they grow in size. Fluoride can also help prevent tooth sensitivity by fortifying tooth enamel while dental sealants can protect those rear molars from decay.
A New School Year and Smile
The more comfortable your child becomes with their new braces, the easier it will be for them to blend in with their peers. If your child feels self-conscious about their braces, once they notice their fellow students walking the hallways wearing braces as well, the better they will feel about blending in.