Going back to school is an exciting time for kids (and parents). But it can also be a very stressful time for students that have recently got braces. Not only are they wondering what other students are going to think and say, they have to make some substantial changes to their daily routine. These daily changes may seem small at home, but working them in at school can be overwhelming, especially during the first few days back.
Here are 5 quick tips for going Back to School with Braces:
- Have a Braces Care Kit in your backpack or lunch box
Packing a braces care kit and bringing it to school is highly recommended, especially for kid’s that are new to braces. A braces care kit will help your student be prepared for the most dreaded situations that can come from wearing braces. Key items to have in the care kit are Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Dental Floss, Dental Wax, and Lip Blam.
Using the toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss after lunch will really help keep the teeth clean as braces have a tendency to collect food. It is important that your student set aside time to brush and floss after eating lunch.
Also, having dental wax and lip balm is helpful if the teeth brackets begin to irritate the lips, gums, or cheeks. Taking a small amount of dental wax and placing it on the problem area can help reduce irritation and distraction. Lip balm will help with dry and irritated lips that can be caused from braces.
- Pack BFF for lunches – Braces Friendly Food.
Unless their school provides a lunch program (which, in that case, it would be your student’s responsibility to make sure they make good choices and pick foods that will not harm their braces), making sure to have a lunch that complies with Dr. Gina Lee’s dietary rules is essential. This can be one of the most discouraging parts of getting braces. However, there are plenty of lunches that your student will love. Just make sure that raw carrots, whole apples, nuts, chips, or large pieces of meat are not on the menu. It’s important to avoid hard breads when making a sandwich. And it’s also a good idea to remind your student not to chew on ice and to avoid sticky snacks like taffy or caramel.
- Water, Water, Water.
Drinking enough water is essential for health, but it is especially important when your student has braces. Not only does drinking plenty of water help to clear away and food pieces that might be hiding around the brackets or underneath the wire, water helps to neutralize the acids from the foods we eat, which keeps your mouth healthier. While most schools have water fountains, having a water bottle in their backpack is the best way to encourage them to drink water and is more convenient than getting up and leaving class when they need a drink. Disposable water bottles are a good option, but a reusable water bottle is probably the best choice.
- Make a new mouth guard for sports.
The mouth guard your student wore last year for sports is not going to work now that they has braces. It’s time to make a new one, especially if their team uses the molded kind. Any sport that might cause injury to the mouth usually requires their players to wear a mouth guard. If you suspect that your student is going to need a mouth guard at all, have one on hand and ready to be molded, so they does not have to worry about whether or not they are going to be able to play.
- Help them understand that they are not alone.
Thirty years ago, they might have been one of only a few kids who had braces at school. Now, a huge portion of their classmates have had or are currently wearing braces. They might feel that they have been separated from their classmates because they are wearing braces, but the truth is that most of their friends are probably wearing them, too. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed about smiling or laughing. In reality, only a few people are even going to notice that they are wearing braces. Today’s braces are much thinner and more discreet than the brackets used even ten years ago. Encourage them to still be outgoing and to not let their braces hold them back!
A treat always helps…. Letting them have a small treat of a milkshake or a smoothie, especially on days when they have had an adjustment to their braces, can be a great pick-me-up. Other treats might include a little bit of ice cream (as long as it does not contain nuts) or some pudding. Even a small piece of cake might be a nice treat. Don’t be afraid to spoil them a little bit. Braces are a big transition period for your student and though they have to wear them for a relatively short amount of time (especially compared to how long they will be able to enjoy a healthy, straight smile), this can be a rough time. A small treat can take some of the edge off.
There you have it. 5 quick and easy tips for going back to school with braces. With these tips, your student can go back to school knowing that their smile and confidence are not going to be negatively affected by braces.
If you have any questions or concerns about going back to school with new braces, need suggestions on mouth guards or any other braces question, please call our office and speak with our team. We’re here to help you. (919)797-2300