Back to School Survival Guide for Braces

For many parents, summer is one of the best times of the year to get their kids started in orthodontic treatment. With a long break between school months, kids can get used to the ins and outs of braces from the comfort of home. If you are a student who got braces put on this summer, you may be a little anxious about what to expect in the upcoming school year. Heading back to school can already have you feeling nervous and excited, even before you add braces into the equation! While this is a common concern among the children and teens we treat, adjusting to life with braces isn’t all that hard! In fact, pretty soon you won’t even notice them anymore.

Here at Hemphill Orthodontics, we want to help make the transition from summer to school a little easier for you, so our expert team has put together a short list of our favorite tips for starting school with new braces. Keep reading below for more information on how you can get back to school with a spring in your step and confidence in your smile!

Be prepared with a braces kit

It’s not unusual to have occasional minor issues with your braces. This could be anything from food getting stuck in the brackets to a stray wire popping out of place. Be prepared for any 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
  • prox-a-brushes or floss 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 (you should be changing these out several times a day, anyway!)
  • lip balm for dry lips
  • a small cup for rinsing your mouth out after eating
  • an unsharpened pencil for the eraser end, which can be used to push any stray wires back into place

Keeping these items handy could save you quite a bit of time, trouble, and discomfort as you work your way towards a straight smile while in school!

Dr. Hemphill talking to a patient and his father

Say hello to H2O

What you choose to eat and drink can affect your braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout the day. This will keep you hydrated help flush out any lingering food particles or debris. Regularly drinking water can also relieve a dry mouth, something that can often happen with new braces.

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

Plan for lunch in advance

When it comes to caring for your braces, the rules apply no matter where you are. That means paying attention to food restrictions at home, school, or anywhere in between. To protect your brackets and wires, you should be avoiding anything sticky or crunchy, like gum, certain types of candy, popcorn, chips, and nuts. While this can be frustrating, it will all be worth it in the end when we reveal your beautiful new smile!

Keep your treatment plan progressing as scheduled by checking out your 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. You’ll especially appreciate these after an adjustment appointment!

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 may be looking for something satisfying to snack on during the day. There are lots of healthy options still on the menu, such as applesauce, yogurt, and bananas. Not only are these gentle on your braces, they’ll also keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.

Keep your smile safe

If you’re a student athlete or still have regular P.E. classes, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your smile. Because they are designed to be worn with braces, they’re the best way to keep your mouth and braces safe from damage during physical activities. Orthodontic mouthguards can be found at most major sporting good stores, along with the non-orthodontic models. Dr. Hemphill will also be happy to recommend a model or order one for you if you’d prefer to go through our practice instead.

Dr. Hemphill smiling with a patient

Head back to school with a bright smile from Hemphill Orthodontics

Here at Hemphill Orthodontics, we’re all about making your orthodontic journey with us as positive and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about navigating the new school year with braces, feel free to reach out to us anytime. Dr. Hemphill and the rest of our talented team will do everything we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start. You deserve nothing less than a straight-A smile, and we’re here to help you achieve that!