Summer is over and school is back in session and that can be quite stressful for those who are starting school with a new addition: braces. It is important to ensure that kids are confident in knowing how to care for their braces throughout the school day and if any issues arise.
Bring a Braces Care Kit to School
A braces care kit is the most important item to remember on a daily basis. This is going to be crucial to caring for their braces, so make sure that this kit is packed with the essentials and always stays in your child’s bag. A fully stocked kit should include:
- A toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Lip balm
- Rubber bands
- A retainer and case (if needed)
- A mouthguard for athletic activities
- A mirror
- A small cup for rinsing
- OTC pain medicine or substitute
Use Time Wisely
Time management is key during school when caring for braces. Patients should use the time between classes and after lunch to go to the restroom and check on their braces and brush their teeth to remove any food that is caught. This will help in preventing cavities, staining, and other possible issues that may arise.
Know What Foods to Avoid
This may be the most difficult for some kids as the temptation rises when supervision is minimal during lunchtime. Educating your kids on why these foods are detrimental to their braces may help cut down on this problem. Foods that that can harm both braces and teeth can cause pain and result in having to wear braces for even longer.
Foods that are sticky, overly hard, or tend to get stuck can cause broken wires, loose brackets, and disconnect from the teeth. Avoid:
- Overly chewy foods like hard rolls, bagels, and licorice
- Very crunchy foods like chips and ice
- Any sticky foods like caramels, gummies, and dried fruits
- Very hard foods like nuts and hard pretzels
- Overly sugary foods like candy
- Any foods that you have to bite into like corn on the cob, carrots, and apples
- Don’t chew on pens, pencils, or fingernails
Protecting Against Injuries
Having braces can make a fall or a ball to the face very painful. Have your child wear a mouthguard whenever practical, like during sports, or physical activity that could involve flailing limbs or falling. Your orthodontist will let you know if there are any other suggested times of use.
Drinking water throughout the day is a good habit to develop in children from an early age. For kids with braces, this is an even better habit as the water will serve as a cleaning agent to flush stuck-on food particles and plaque. It also helps to wash away any residue left over from sodas and other sugary drinks, preventing stains and cavities.
Broken Brackets or Wires
A loose bracket or broken wire may happen at some point, and it is important that they know how to handle it.
When a bracket comes loose, use an eraser tip from a pencil and push the bracket back into place. Avoid any foods that might disturb the bracket and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible to get it fixed.
If a wire is broken, cover the broken end of the wire with dental wax that has been packed in the braces care kit. This will help to prevent any cuts or injuries to the gums and cheeks. Schedule an appointment with your orthodontist after school to have it repaired as soon as possible.
Contact Your Iowa City Orthodontist
Maintaining good oral hygiene at home as well as at school will ensure that your child is not only as comfortable as possible but also getting the best result and a beautiful smile. Contact Dr. Suzanne Stock and her team to schedule an appointment. Serving the beautiful communities of Iowa City, Washington, Fairfield, and Williamsburg, Iowa.