Smile David Ross Orthodontics in Hanover, PA and Lutherville-Timonium, MD

Back to School Braces Survival Guide

Did you know that summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment? If you had braces put on after school got out in May or June, you may find yourself wondering what this upcoming school year has in store!  You might even be feeling a little nervous or anxious about navigating braces at school for the very first time, but the good news is, it will be just another part of your daily routine in no time. Here at David Ross Orthodontics, we know that a new school year comes with new friends, teachers, subjects, and memories. We want to help you make this one of your best years yet by sharing our top tips to achieving orthodontic success in the coming months!

Keep a care kit in your backpack or locker

Braces do require a little bit of TLC, and from time to time, you may have a minor issue crop up during the school day. Food can get stuck in brackets during lunch, a wire might go haywire in homeroom and poke into your cheek – whatever your dilemma, you can ensure you’re prepared by keeping a handful of helpful items close by!

One of the easiest ways to keep up with the things you might need in a pinch is to find a small pouch to keep them in, then let it live in your locker or backpack. Some of the items we see patients frequently include are:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • orthodontic wax (cover any areas causing irritation)
  • extra rubber bands (you should be changing them out frequently throughout the day)
  • a small mirror (to check for any trapped food particles!)
  • lip balm
  • a small cup for rinsing
  • an unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)

Take advantage of breaks and lunchtime to indulge in a spot of dental care. We recommend brushing your teeth after lunch, as well as flossing if you have time and space to do so. Braces can cause some minor irritation and temporary soreness from time to time, and if this occurs, you can use a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax to cover the offending area, providing immediate relief. Having all of these items on hand will end up saving you a lot of time, trouble, and discomfort during your time in braces. We think anything that makes the treatment process easier belongs on the honor roll!

Bring a water bottle

Everybody knows we should be consuming about eight glasses of water a day, even if some of us have trouble sticking to that goal. Staying hydrated is always important, but drinking water is also a great way to flush out any food debris sticking to your teeth to keep your smile sparkling! It’s also great for the occasional dry mouth that can come with newer braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout the day for the best benefits. Try to stick to plain water over sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks. These can cause staining and increase the risk of cavities developing.

Dr. Ross talking with a patient

Become familiar with your school’s lunch menu

If you prefer to buy lunch at school over bringing your own, it’s important to stick to the same basic rules of braces care, including avoiding anything too hard, sticky, or crunchy. To protect your braces, learn to be a little more discerning when it comes to your lunchtime choices! Check out the menu ahead of time and look for braces-friendly options like pasta, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetable, and lean meats. Stick to healthier snacks such as bananas, applesauce, and yogurt that are easy on your orthodontic appliance over questionable items from a vending machine to keep your braces safe and your smile looking good! Put treats like gum, candy, popcorn, hard chips, raw apples, and carrots, etc. on the back burner until your braces come off. This will help prevent any potential mishaps with your braces, like breaking a bracket or wire, which is something you don’t want happening anywhere, let alone school.

Get the right gear for gym class

If you’re active in sports or you have regular gym or P.E. classes, it’s worth investing in an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your mouth! These are designed to be worn with braces, and are the easiest way to save your braces from damage and your mouth from injury during physical activities. Orthodontic and non-orthodontic models are widely available at most sporting goods stores, and our practice is able to recommend and order one for you as well, if you prefer. Though we strongly recommend orthodontic mouthguards for our braces-wearing patients, any mouthguard is better than none at all.

Make a little extra time in the mornings (or before bed)

Although these tips are pretty straightforward, they can sometimes feel like just one more thing, particularly when you’re already toting around books, completing assignments, and keeping up with any extracurriculars! Make things easier on yourself by carving out a little extra time before bed or first thing in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. Be honest with yourself, too – if you are a big fan of the snooze button, do yourself a favor and pack your braces care kit or fix a healthy lunch the night before instead of rushing to do it in the morning!

David Ross Orthodontics office

Kick off the new school year with a smile from David Ross Orthodontics

Going back to school with braces may have its own learning curve, but if you use our tips to stay prepared, you’ll be on your way to a straight-A smile! Dr. Ross and the rest of our dedicated team are here to help make the transition from summer into the school year as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about navigating life as a student while in braces, get in touch with us and we’ll do all we can to set your mind at ease. We wish all our teachers and student patients in Hanover and the surrounding areas a happy start to the new school year!