Tips for Going to Class with Braces

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Getting braces after age 16 seems to be more and more popular the past few years. In fact, we see many young adults on campus with braces, both the metal braces as well as clear or invisible braces. We recently approached one of those students and asked what made them decide to get braces. At the age of 20, this student said he was feeling self conscious about some “crowding” that was going on with his teeth and felt it was the best time to get the braces because his parents insurance was able to cover some of it.

In addition to convenience and cost, he also felt it would increase his chances of finding a great job after graduated. He didn’t want his teeth, or even his self-consciousness about his teeth to ever impact his performance at an interview. First impressions matter and he wanted to put his very best foot forward.

We were enlightened by his insight and asked him if there was any tips he’d give to anyone else considering braces. His response was to be prepared to deal with the day-to-day hassle that comes with braces, including the pain, difficulty eating, and the occasional poking wires. So we did a little research of our own and found some great tips for going to school with braces.

1. Keep the Braces Care Kit in Your Backpack

Packing a braces care kit and bringing it to school is highly recommended, especially for kid’s that are new to braces. The braces care kit will help your child be prepared for the most dreaded situations that can come from wearing braces. Consider including the following items in the braces care kit:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Dental wax
  • Lip balm

The toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss will come in handy, especially after lunch. Braces have a tendency to collect food so it’s important that kid’s set aside time to brush and floss after lunch.

2. Be Careful What You Eat

Orthodontists instruct their patients to avoid certain kinds of food. For example, it’s best to stay away from hard, gooey, sticky, and crunchy foods as they can break or damage the wires and brackets of the braces.

The temptation to eat candy or chew gum is even higher in school. One common recommendation is to pack yogurt, apple sauce, or other soft-sweet foods to satisfy sugar cravings.

When going back to school with braces, it’s highly recommended that children get in the habit of packing a lunch. Packing a lunch is the best way to ensure that all food options are braces-friendly. Since it’s easier to eat and chew with braces when food is cut into bite-sized pieces. Biting into sandwiches, for example, can result in large amounts of bread, mayo, cheese, and lunchmeat getting stuck in the front braces. Cutting food into bite sized pieces will save time from brushing and flossing at school, and prepping the food before school will ensure it actually gets done.

3. Carry a Water Bottle and Stay Hydrated

Going back to school with braces? don’t forget the water bottle. Staying hydrated is great good for your child’s overall health, but drinking plenty of water will also help remove food particles from the teeth and braces. Drinking a lot of water will hopefully also help kid’s stay away from drinking soda and other sugary drinks that can stain the teeth. Getting stained teeth while wearing braces can result in white spots from the brackets when the braces are removed.

If your child does occasionally drink soda or other sugary drinks, it’s a good idea for them to use a straw in order to keep the soda as far away from their teeth as possible. Also, remind them not to swish the soda between their cheeks before swallowing. We know the carbonation can feel good against the cheeks but it’s best practice to keep these sugary liquids as far from their teeth as possible, especially with braces.

(Source: Chicago Orthodontics)

Health and Wellness Tips for NC Students

Making it through your freshman year of college without gaining the dreaded “freshman 15” is quite a feat these days. Unfortunately, poor diet and nutrition habits, coupled with stress and lack of sleep, can lead to weight gain very quickly and result in even more poor eating and lifestyle habits. We’re passionate about helping students stay healthy and optimizing their health and performance so they can do great in college. Here are 9 great health and wellness tips to keep you mind and body going in a positive direction.

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1. Eat breakfast. Start your day off right with a good meal when you get up. Whether you’re rolling out of bed at noon or up at the crack of dawn for class, make sure you start your day with a balanced, healthy meal.

2. Don’t skip meals. With so much to do, it’s easy to forgo eating to run off to class or the library. Don’t skip meals. Set up foods you can eat on the run so you’ll have the energy to keep going.

3. Play a sport. One way to get yourself motivated to exercise is to make it a game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or play recreational sports through your school to get active and have fun at the same time.

4. Stick to a schedule. With different classes and work hours each day, it can be hard to stick to a schedule, but keeping sleep times similar from day to day can greatly improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

5. Wear flip flops in the shower. Dorm bathrooms are generally cleaned daily, but can become dirty quickly with so many students sharing them. Always make sure to wear sandals in the shower to avoid getting viruses and bacteria that can cause warts and athlete’s foot.

6. Understand you can’t do everything. While you might want to go to class, work, play a sport, and participate in clubs and social activities, the reality is that sooner or later you’re going to get run down by trying to do so much. Focus on doing the things you truly love and forget about the rest.

7. Relax with hobbies. Whether you like to paint or to destroy aliens with your friends in video games, making time for the things you love is an important part of keeping yourself from getting too stressed out.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help with their depression but this is unnecessary as it’s a common and treatable problem that you don’t have to deal with alone. Tap into campus resources to find help or tell a friend how you’re feeling.

9. Quit smoking. No matter how much you may love the sweet thrill of a nicotine rush, the reality is that smoking just isn’t good for you or anyone around you. Quit as soon as you can to save your lungs, heart, teeth and years of your life.

(Source: Health Services at Rutgers)