Monday, August 12, 2013

Bracing for Back-to-School: Tips to Help Students with Braces Make the Grade

As the laid back days of summer wind to a close, for many students back-to-school means a new start—from new lockers and teachers to a fresh outlook on the school year. It can also mean a renewed focus on healthier habits from eating right to better hygiene, especially if you wear braces. I suggest two must-haves students with braces should pack everyday to move to the head of the class.

Pack Lunch without a Punch
If you have ever had your braces tightened, chances are your mouth and teeth were probably sore. While you probably want to avoid foods that cause or contribute to mouth pain, it does not mean you have to skimp on flavor or fun. There are several ways to steer clear of foods that can cause pain or damage to your braces.

  1.  Pack your lunch – This will help you control temptations to eat foods you should avoid   (See tip #2) while wearing braces.
  2. Avoid the crunch – Crunchy foods such as raw carrots, pretzels, nuts and tortilla chips are just a few of the foods that can wreak havoc on your braces and mouth. Try pita bread with hummus and salsa as a tasty alternative.
  3. Slice, dice and mash – Make whole foods such as apples, peaches, pears and plums bite-sized and manageable by cutting them into pieces. Enjoy foods that can easily be mashed such as potatoes, bananas and avocados and softer foods such as quinoa, pasta, coleslaw and applesauce.
  4. Skip gummy foods – Chewing gum, taffy, gooey fruit snacks and roll-ups can all stick to braces like glue. Trade-in gooey foods for yogurts, puddings and muffins that won’t coat your teeth.
  5. Erase sugary sweets – Sugar can breed bacteria on your braces. While it may be hard to avoid sugary sodas and candy completely, remember to brush your teeth after sweets.

Pack Tools for School
Students wearing braces face unique challenges, from popped wires to food caught in brackets. Since a majority of students’ time is spent at school, and not at home, a dental toolkit in a backpack or locker allows for maintenance while on the go. Ashburn Orthodontics suggests 10 tools to include in a kit to keep students’ minds off their mouths and head in the books:
  1. Dental wax for sores and scrapes
  2.  Floss made for orthodontic care
  3. Toothpaste and toothbrush
  4.  Compact mirror to check for trapped food
  5.  Small (collapsible) cup for rinsing
  6. Cream or gel to soothe sore gums approved by your orthodontist
  7.  A spiral dental brush
  8.  Interdental picks
  9. Protective mouth guard for sports
  10. Lip balm

Sporting a “grade A” smile has never been easier. Beyond braces, there are several treatment options to straighten teeth and not all require metal and wires. Click here to learn more about the latest orthodontic treatment options and to schedule a free consultation.