It is the season of Back-to-School, with all the excitement and anxieties that come with it. This can also be true for children, and parents of children undergoing orthodontic treatment.
One way to put both parents and children at ease when it comes to orthodontics at school is to discuss a “Plan of Action”. If you and your child understand the plan ahead of time, it will help ensure a successful (orthodontic!) school year!
Here are some recommendations for your Orthodontic “Back-to-School Action Plan”
- Bring a toothbrush to school – It’s always best to brush your teeth after you eat lunch. A quick brushing doesn’t take long and will help keep your teeth and braces free of food, which helps to avoid cavities and/or permanent staining on your teeth, as well as bad breath!
- Drink Water – Bring a water bottle to school and drink throughout the day. This helps to keep your mouth clean by rinsing away large food particles stuck in your braces after eating. Keep a toothbrush in your locker in a toothbrush case along with some toothpaste, and you will never have to remember to bring it to school.
- Packing your lunch and snacks – When packing lunches and snacks, avoid foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy to prevent bending wires or breaking braces. If you like hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, cut them into smaller pieces before you leave for school. Biting into hard fruits and veggies can damage your braces, which can cause discomfort and could lengthen your time in braces.
- Retainers – Bring your retainer case with you to school. Make sure to always place the retainer in the case whenever it is out of your mouth, and make sure your retainer case is labeled or has a unique marking or pattern on it, to avoid accidentally mixing it up with your friend’s. Many patients who need retainers replaced have forgotten to bring their case to school and left their retainers on a lunch tray or in their lunch bag where it’s likely to disappear in the garbage. Replacement retainers can be quite costly and it’s no fun to look in the trash to look for your lost retainer! Ewwwwwww…
- Rubber bands – Don’t forget to change your rubber bands and bring a supply with you to keep in your desk, backpack or locker! A great idea is to have an orthodontic baggie in your locker that has everything you need to take care of your orthodontic appliances, and to make sure your mouth stays clean and comfortable while you’re at school.
- Do you play a Sport? – Protecting your braces during sports not only protects your teeth from accidents but also protects your braces!!