August is national back-to-school month! For students who are starting the new school year with braces for the first time, school may seem like a very difficult place to navigate. However, it isn’t as stressful as it may seem. Every student—whether new to dental braces or an experienced patient—should know what supplies to keep packed in their backpack, what to bring for lunch, how much water to drink and what to do for sports activities. This survival guide is sure to take much of the worries away of starting school with braces for students and parents alike.
Making a Braces Supply Kit
Metal braces may seem like an overwhelming new responsibility, but a supply kit makes daily care of braces at school a breeze. Because it’s especially important to keep food particles out of the mouth with braces, it is essential to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Additionally, extra rubber bands should definitely be included, as rubber bands are easily broken and lost. Wax will be a life-saver in the case of wires or brackets that may start to irritate the mouth. Finally, a pocket-sized mirror will minimize the need to frequently use restroom mirrors to check that food isn’t caught between braces and teeth. All of these items should fit comfortably in a small bag or case that is easily portable between the backpack, restroom, home and other activities.
What to Pack for Lunch
When possible, packing a lunch to bring to school is the best way to ensure that the right foods are being eaten with braces. There are plenty of options for delicious, creative and braces-friendly lunchtime meals from home, which are likely to be much better than school-provided lunches. Sticking with softer items will help avoid food getting caught in braces and reduce potential irritation. Therefore, crunchy items like chips, nuts, whole apples, or raw carrots should be avoided—as well as large pieces of meat that can get stuck between teeth.
Safe foods to eat with braces include:
- Soft dairy products (e.g., yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese)
- Roasted or baked hard fruits (e.g., pears, apples)
- Naturally soft fruits (e.g., bananas, blueberries, grapes, peaches)
- Hard boiled or deviled eggs
- Fruit smoothies
- Soft crackers (e.g., oyster crackers, Goldfish)
- Naturally soft raw veggies (e.g., peppers, cucumbers)
- Steamed/roasted/grilled veggies and hummus
The Importance of Hydration
Staying hydrated is important to staying healthy. It’s even more essential when it comes to having braces. Water is great at clearing out any remaining food particles from the teeth and braces that might get missed in brushing or flossing. Additionally, water acts as a neutralizer to the acids that can build up in the mouth from eating. Not to mention, staying hydrated helps prevent the mouth from getting dry, which can cause irritation in the mouth from the brackets and wires of braces. Keeping a water bottle handy ensures that students can maintain healthy hydration at all times. Plastic water bottles can work just fine, but a reusable water bottle can prevent waste (just make sure to keep it clean).
Will Your Child Need to Drop Out of Sports?
Having braces doesn’t mean that students have to drop out of sports and physical extracurricular activities. However, a mouth guard will be even more essential for the new school year. Old mouth guards are not likely to fit anymore. Parents will need to make sure their child obtains a new mouth guard from their orthodontist, preferably the type that can be molded.
Go Back to School with Confidence
Going back to school with braces—especially for the first time—doesn’t have to be stressful at all for students who are well-prepared. It may take some time to adjust to wearing braces and the daily routines that go along with it, but the small daily care routines will feel natural in no time. Following our tips and advice should help students take on the new school year with confidence!
If you are a parent looking for a caring, highly-skilled orthodontist for starting the journey of braces with your child, look no further than Wiewiora & Dunn Orthodontics. We specialize in braces both for children and teens, with consistently successful results. View our smile gallery, then contact us to schedule your braces consultation session. We look forward to helping your child smile with confidence again.