It’s officially the time of the year that parents love, and most students hate: back to school time! Going back to school can be stressful, especially when you just recently got braces and have no idea how to maintain them while at school. Luckily, we are here to help with this concern. Here are a few tips on how to take care of your braces at school.

Pack a bag with braces essentials.

Packing a small bag with basic oral health essentials to care for your braces is one of the best things you can do. In your braces kit, pack things like:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Dental wax
  • Lip balm
  • Retainer and case (if needed)
  • Rubber bands
  • A small mirror
  • OTC pain medicine

Having these items with you helps you to easily maintain your braces while at school and prepare for most dental emergencies that can happen. The toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and (if needed) rubber bands will be handy after lunch; dental wax and OTC pain medicine can be helpful for a loose wire or bracket; and lip balm can help moisturize dry lips that may result from braces. Keep the bag in your backpack or locker and use every day. Taking this simple step of packing a braces kit will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

Avoid foods that can harm your braces.

While they may be tasty, there are a lot of foods that can harm both your braces and teeth, causing you discomfort and even a longer amount of time in braces. Foods like chips, gum, popcorn, apples that aren’t cut into wedges, or other sticky, chewy, or hard foods are all examples of what can cause issues. You most likely don’t want the discomfort that comes with a broken wire or a longer amount of time in braces, so do yourself a huge favor, and avoid the harmful foods. Preventing damage to your braces is crucial in aligning your pearly whites.

To help safeguard your braces, we recommend packing your own lunch. This ensures that all food does not pose a threat to your braces and is overall braces-friendly.

Brush and floss your teeth after lunch.

Unfortunately, braces make it a lot easier for food and plaque to get caught in or sit on your teeth. And, like always, it is never a good idea to let food or plaque sit on your teeth for too long. So, at lunchtimes, make sure there is no food caught in your braces and brush your teeth to rid them of plaque and other bacteria. This will greatly benefit your teeth by helping to prevent cavities, stains, and other dental issues, and help you to avoid the embarrassment that could come with a piece of food being stuck between your front teeth. After brushing, try to floss as well. Or, make sure to do so when you get home. If you have trouble flossing with braces, using a Waterpik at home can help with this issue.

Wear a mouthguard when necessary. 

Having braces unfortunately increases the risk of injuries. One kickball to the face can create a painful situation to the gums, teeth, or cheeks with all the metal and wire involved. While wearing a mouthguard is not necessary for everyone, those involved in athletic programs especially or even everyday gym class should consider wearing one. If you aren’t sure if you need a mouthguard, talk to your orthodontist to determine whether you should purchase one.

Drink plenty of water.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day already offers countless benefits to your overall health. However, drinking water also helps to remove food particles and plaque that get caught in your braces. And, as mentioned before, getting them off of your braces and teeth is extremely helpful, especially since braces are like a magnet for food and bacteria. Additionally, drinking water with braces helps to prevent stains that can result from soda and other sugary drinks.

On those occasions where you do consume a soda or other sugary drink, be sure to drink from a straw. This keeps the sugar away from your teeth, protecting them from the formation of plaque and other harmful bacteria.

What Do I Do if My Bracket or Wire Comes Loose at School?

Most individuals with braces will experience a broken wire or bracket at some point while having braces. The tips above can help you avoid this hassle altogether, but if this happens at school, here’s what you should do.

For a broken wire, use dental wax (that should be in your handy dandy braces kit) to cover the pointy end of the wire. This will keep it from cutting the side of your cheek or your gums. After school, visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.

For a loose bracket, simply use an eraser tip on a pencil to push the bracket back into place. Watch what you eat to try to keep that bracket in place and visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Start This School Year with A Fresh, Clean Mouth and Bright Smile!

Not only should you take care of your braces, but more importantly, your teeth! It is really important to visit the dentist to maintain the healthiness of your teeth. Our Raleigh dentists can help clean your teeth and make sure they are healthy for the start of the new school year. Schedule your appointment now by calling us at 919-834-4450 of by filling out the contact form below.