Back-to-School Survival Guide for Braces

Did you know that summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment? The break in between school months can be an ideal time to have braces put on, allowing kids to get used to the orthodontic process from the comfort of home. 

If you’re a student who had braces put on this summer, it’s natural to be a little nervous about what lies ahead as you begin a brand new school year. While this is a common worry among the children and teens we treat, adjusting to life with braces is actually pretty simple. With a little patience, trust, and knowledge, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine in no time!

Here at Hunter Family Orthodontics, we know that heading back to school can leave you feeling anxious and excited, even before you add braces into the equation. To help make the transition from late nights to early mornings a little easier, our expert team has put together this survival guide for going back to school with a spring in your step and  confidence in your smile. Keep reading below for a few of our favorite tips for starting school with new braces!

Be prepared

Braces require a little TLC from time to time, and it’s not uncommon to have minor issues pop up occasionally. This could be anything from food getting stuck in the brackets to a stray wire popping out of place and irritating your cheek. Stay prepared for any temporary problems by packing a braces care kit to keep with you in your purse, backpack, or locker. Consider including the following items:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing after lunch
  • floss or ortho picks to use after lunch if you have the time (and space!) to do so
  • orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any part of your braces causing irritation
  • extra rubber bands, as you should probably be changing these out frequently daily, anyway!
  • lip balm for dry lips caused by braces
  • a small cup for rinsing your mouth, helping to dislodge any trapped food or debris
  • an unsharpened pencil for the eraser end, which can be used to push any stray wires back into place

Having a braces kit close to hand can save you quite a bit of time, trouble, and discomfort as you work your way towards a straight smile!

assistant working on patients teeth

Don’t say no to H2O

What you choose to eat and drink can affect your braces. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help you stay hydrated, and will help flush out any food particles that are stuck to your teeth or in your braces. It can also relieve the dry mouth that can sometimes come with new braces. Try bringing a full water bottle to school with you in the morning, and sip on it through the school day to experience the full benefits! 

We recommend sticking to plain water over sugary liquids like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks, since these can cause staining and increase your risk of cavities. If you do indulge in a sweet drink or two, use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth and brush as soon as you can.

Plan your lunch menu in advance

When it comes to caring for your braces, the same rules apply no matter where you are. To protect your brackets and wires, you’ll need to avoid anything sticky or crunchy throughout the treatment process. That means steering clear of treats like gum, certain types of candy, popcorn, chips, and nuts until your braces come off. You can keep your orthodontic progress on track by checking out the school’s menu ahead of time to be sure you’ll have braces-friendly options available. Look for things like spaghetti, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats, which will be easy for you to chew and safe for your braces, too. 

Since you won’t be able to partake in foods like pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and veggies while you’re in braces, you might be at a loss when it comes to choosing something satisfying to snack on during the day. However, there are lots of healthy options still on the menu, such as applesauce, yogurt, and bananas. These are not only gentle on your braces, but will keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day, too.  

Stay safe

If you’re a student athlete or still have regular P.E. classes, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect your braces and your smile. These are designed to be worn with braces, and they’re the easiest way to keep your braces safe from damage – and your mouth safe from injury – during physical activities. Orthodontic mouthguards are usually available at most major sporting good stores, along with non-orthodontic models. Dr. Hunter is also happy to recommend or order one for you if you’d prefer to go through our practice! 

Dr. Hunter showing scans

Head back to school with a smile from Hunter Family Orthodontics

Here at Hunter Family Orthodontics, we’re committed to making your orthodontic journey as positive and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about how to navigate the new school year with braces, get in touch with us any time! Our expert team will do whatever we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start. You deserve a straight-A smile, and we’re here to help you achieve that!