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:
- 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)