Whether you’ve had braces for a while or they’re new to you, going back to school with braces this fall is the perfect time to develop some habits to keep your teeth and gums healthy at school. It can be a challenging time to maintain your oral health, balancing a busy school schedule and being away from the comfort of your bathroom at home, but it can be done! You just need to plan ahead. Here’s what you can do.
Keep Them Clean
The school day is long – too long to go without giving your braces some TLC. Ideally, you would brush and clean your braces after every lunch, even while at school. If that’s not an option, at least spend a few minutes in the bathroom making sure you don’t have any food particles stuck in the wire or brackets, and give your mouth a good rinse with water or mouthwash.
Watch What You Eat
You have a list of foods to avoid while you have braces. Keep this list in mind as you go through your day at school. Avoid sticky and crunchy foods like caramels, nuts, popcorn, and ice cubes. These kinds of foods can actually cause brackets to pop off or can be extremely difficult to clean off your braces, upping your risk of tooth decay. If you’re not sure which foods to avoid, ask your orthodontist.
Also, if you have a habit of chewing on pens and other non-food items, now is the time to break it. These objects can also break your braces and are bad for the surface of your teeth.
In addition to a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash, you should keep some other things handy with you in school. Pack elastic bands if you use them and dental wax so you can take care of any wires if they start to poke and irritate your cheek, and some over the counter inkillers lke ibuprofen or aspirin as recommended by your orthodontist.
Get a Mouthguard
Back to school with braces means taking extra precautions during sports. Depending on the activities you’re involved in, you may want a mouthguard that fits over your braces. This not only protects your braces from being damaged, but can also protect your lips and cheeks from your braces. If you don’t have one, talk to your orthodontist about getting one.
Wearing Braces with Confidence
If you’ll be debuting your braces at school this fall, you may be feeling a little hesitant. Don’t worry, lots of teens wear braces and having braces means you care about your health and smile. It’s a short period in your life, and when the braces come off, you’ll have a beautiful smile for a lifetime.