Back to School in Braces

If your child got braces this summer, chances are that his back-to-school blues are worse this year than most. You might think getting braces is not such a big deal. After all, the treatment is just a couple years and those brackets will be off in relatively no time.

But remember that a couple years represent a large fraction of your child’s life so far. To them, braces will comprise a significant amount of time. This raises the anxiety around completing the treatment. Now couple that with the pressure of seeing your peers after more than two months, with very different facial features.

Sometimes your child’s reluctance to advertise his braces indicates that he might hesitate to properly care for them while at school. Whatever the type of appliance he is wearing, braces care is as important at school as at home. Listen to your child’s concerns with a supportive ear, but remind him how critical it is to follow the prescribed braces rules and regimens.

Even though time crawls for a kid, explain that the temporary discomfort will lead to permanent satisfaction and increased confidence. Plus, embracing your braces — by performing necessary management steps — could mean less overall time wearing them.

Here is a brief checklist to help your child prepare for braces at school:

Brush before School

It is essential that your child brush his teeth before school. What’s not essential is that he does it after breakfast. With busy schedules for parents and kids alike, it’s not uncommon for a child to eat breakfast in the car, the bus or at school. However, that doesn’t give him a teeth-brushing pass. It also is effective to brush before your first meal, as long as you rinse after eating.

Brush at School?

When wearing braces, you need to clean the teeth after each meal. But before your child goes into total panic over the prospect of brushing in the school bathroom, remember that other ways exist to clean the teeth. Swishing with cleansing mouthwash can be far less conspicuous for a timid teen. Ask your orthodontist for his recommendation on the type of rinsing agent to use and how to use it.

Carry Essential Items

Pack some braces must-haves for your child to carry in his backpack or store in his locker. This kit should include:

  • floss
  • disposable toothbrush
  • mouthwash
  • extra orthodontic elastics
  • dental wax
  • cases for any removable appliances
  • small mirror

Mouth Guards a Must

Make sure your child wears a mouth guard if he is on a sports team, or plays a contact sport in gym class. Taking a hit in the mouth while wearing braces can seriously damage your teeth. In fact, your child should seek medical attention in the event of any injury to the face. While he might not complain of tooth pain, a minor problem actually could affect the root of a tooth.

Lunches Your Child Can Eat

Make sure your child knows to stay away from crunchy and chewy food. Crunchy foods can end up breaking a wire or dislodging a bracket, and sticky foods, are difficult to clean off the braces. You can teach older children what types of food to eat and to avoid, but for younger children packing their lunch is probably safest. Parenthood.com offers this A-Z list of foods/chewable items you child should avoid:

  • Apples
  • Bagels and hard rolls
  • Beef jerky
  • Bubble gum
  • Candy canes or suckers
  • Caramels and chewy candies
  • Chicken wings:
  • Corn chips
  • Corn on the cob
  • Fingernails
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Gummi anything
  • Hard candies
  • Hard cookies
  • Ice cubes
  • Nuts
  • Pears
  • Peanut brittle
  • Pens and pencils
  • Pickles
  • Popcorn
  • Pizza Crust
  • Pretzels
  • Raw carrots
  • Ribs
  • Sugary candy
  • Taffy

The friendly staff at Orthodontic Associates is committed to giving your child the best possible experience while in braces. With nine locations in the Baltimore area and new-patient specials, Orthodontic Associates makes your convenience a priority. Call us at 443-231-0955 or complete a contact form to schedule your consultation today.



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