The beginning of the school year is always a whirlwind: new teachers, new friends, new clothes, new backpacks, new… braces? Sometimes! When it’s time for your child to head back to school with braces, a little preparation can ensure their smile is ready to go at all times.
3 Keys to Caring for Braces at School
We know that school days are busy from bell to bell, but it’s still important for your child to make time for their braces throughout the day, and be ready for anything that may happen (think sticky snacks and sports — hey, they happen!).
One way you can help your child is by giving them the knowledge and tools they need ahead of time so they can properly care for their braces at school. As an orthodontist office, we help many children straighten their smiles. Over time, we’ve learned that these are the keys to your child successfully caring for their braces while they’re at school all day.
1. Eating the right foods.
Braces don’t make it impossible for your child to eat all their favorite foods, but there are some foods that are naturally smarter choices. Whether your child is eating school lunch or bringing lunch from home, they should eat foods approved by their kids orthodontist. Some of these include sandwiches with thinly sliced meats and cheeses; soft fruits like bananas and oranges; and snacks that are easy to eat, such as pudding, jello, yogurt, and applesauce.
At the same time, there are some foods that should be avoided. These foods include pizza, popcorn, pretzels, crackers, and even apples! If a food is crunchy or chewy, it’s probably best to avoid since those types of foods are known to cause issues with braces. If your child chooses bad foods for their braces, remind them that they’re also choosing to keep their braces on longer!
2. Making time for their teeth.
No matter where your child is going to school, they probably stay busy from the time they arrive in the morning until the time they’re released in the afternoon. Still, throughout the day, your child does receive breaks here and there — whether it’s recess, lunchtime, or passing periods — and they need to use those breaks to make time for their teeth.
We encourage children to brush and floss their teeth after they eat (yes, even in the middle of the school day!) so they can avoid harmful buildup of plaque, bacteria, and even food particles. If nothing else, they should be sure to rinse their mouth out with water until they can get home to brush and floss.
3. Having a braces kit — just in case.
Having braces at school can be a big adjustment for your child. Not only does it affect the foods they can eat and the way they spend their time at school, but it also means they may need to take care of their braces themselves if something unexpected happens in the middle of the school day. As we like to say: Shift happens! Sometimes a band will fall off and need to be replaced or a bracket will come loose and need to be adjusted. If this happens, your child shouldn’t panic. With a braces kit on hand, they can easily fix these problems themselves, right at school.
If they’re worried about it, they can watch videos on how to fix basic braces problems themselves so they can feel confident should anything happen during the school day. A braces kit should include a toothbrush, proxy brush, toothpaste, floss, wax, bands, tweezers, and (if they’re old enough) OTC medicine to ease any pain they may be experiencing. If any major issues arise, contact your kids orthodontist with any questions you have; then, they can schedule an appointment for your child if necessary.
Braces are a big deal at any age, but especially for those who are in school. By following these three keys, your child can easily care for their braces at school and actively participate in improving their oral health for the best results when their braces come off.
Send Your Child Back to School with a Confident Smile!
Many children feel nervous, scared, or embarrassed about going back to school with braces. This is totally normal! If they have concerns, be sure to listen to them, and also encourage them. Help them be confident as they straighten their smile, and feel free to remind them that most of their classmates have had, do have, or will have braces at some point in their lives, which is a great way to reassure them about the beautiful smile they’re working toward. If you have any questions about your child’s braces or would like to set up a free consultation with our kids orthodontist in St. Augustine, FL, get in touch with our team! Our orthodontics services are available to both children and adults in St. Augustine, St. Johns, and the surrounding FL communities.