It can be a challenge to take care of your teeth and braces during the school day, but it can be done. Today I’m going to share some ideas on what you can do to care for your braces and teeth as you prepare to go back to school. But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important.
An Investment in Your Smile
Braces are an investment in your smile. They’re an investment of time and of money, too. The end result will be beautiful teeth and a healthy smile. But to get those results, you need to be diligent about your oral health throughout treatment.
It’s always important to take care of your teeth and gums with regular brushing and flossing, but this becomes even more important when you have braces. That’s because the wires and brackets can trap food particles against the teeth, providing the sugars that bacteria in the mouth need to create plaque and eventually cause cavities. This buildup can also cause gum inflammation, which can develop into gum disease if left untreated.
You don’t want to get your braces off only to find that you have decay and disease to deal with. Fortunately, through good oral care you can reduce the likelihood of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Back-to-School Braces Care
Here’s what you can do to protect your teeth and braces as you go back to school.
Brush and floss. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to school and brush after lunch. Bring some floss and floss threaders or small interproximal brushes, too; you’ll be glad you have it if something gets stuck.
Alternatives to brushing. Sometimes it’s simply not possible to brush after lunch. Instead, you can make sure to rinse your mouth very thoroughly with water and/or chew sugarless gum.
Don’t graze and sip all day. Sipping sodas or energy drinks all day long is not good for your teeth. These drinks often contain sugar and acids that can erode the enamel and cause white spots once the braces come off. If you need to drink something throughout the day, drink water.
Avoid certain foods. Skip hard, chewy, and sticky foods that have the potential to break your braces like toffee, caramels, nuts, pretzels, and so on. If you have a habit of chewing on ice or pens, now is the time to break that habit! Otherwise you could be setting yourself up for an extra trip to the orthodontist to fix your broken bracket or wire. Chewing ice is particularly dangerous as it can not only break your braces, doing so can even break your actual teeth!
Protect against pain. In addition to keeping your teeth clean, you want to keep your mouth and braces intact. Get a braces-friendly mouthguard if you play sports and bring along wax for wires that poke out and cause pain.
Taking Care of Your Teeth
Going back to school with braces can be a real adjustment, but just remember that if you take good care of your teeth and braces now, at the end of treatment your reward will be the smile of your dreams.