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Traveling this Spring? Your Westminster Orthodontist Has Tips for Taking Care of Your Braces

March 28, 2018

Spring is upon us, and plenty of families will be hitting the road, now that the days are warmer, for some much-needed rest and relaxation. While the R and R is good for us physically and mentally, this doesn’t mean that all of our good habits have to go by the wayside while we’re taking a break from the day-to-day grind. Your Westminster orthodontist will agree that this is true for our oral care as well—particularly if your have braces.

Take good care of your oral health and your braces on your next trip by putting together a travel kit for yourself and by following some additional guidelines.

What Dental Tools to Bring When You Hit the Road

Just about the only thing you can count on when you go on vacation is that you will not be able to stick to your normal routine. The times when you are accustomed to cleaning your teeth will probably be different, and even bathrooms where you can do it might not always be readily available. One thing to make sure you do is to clean your teeth whenever you get the chance to do it because you might not know when your next chance will be. It may not be convenient, but your Westminster orthodontist will thank you when you go in for your next checkup!

Be sure to have these dental tools in your travel arsenal:
  • A toothbrush. Bring a full-sized toothbrush if you have the space. If you are limited on space, a travel-sized toothbrush will also do the trick. Just don’t forget to bring one! Do your research for suggestions for the types of toothbrushes you might want to try with your braces, both on the road and when you are home.
  • Dental floss, including floss threaders. Regardless of the length of your trip, you’ll need both of these to get those tough-to-reach places between the wires of your braces. (Obviously, if you have Invisalign, you won’t need to worry about the threaders.) Because floss threaders aren’t readily available everywhere, be sure you pack plenty for the entire time you’ll be gone.
  • A small mirror. Depending on where you are traveling to, mirrors might not be readily available. A small, compact mirror will come in handy when you need to do a quick check and make sure a piece of spinach isn’t caught up in your braces.
  • Orthodontic wax. Just in case you are feeling discomfort from a wire rubbing your cheek the wrong way or any other issue, orthodontic wax is useful. If you are new to braces, irritation is common, so be sure pack this important item.

Foods to Avoid When You Are Traveling

Most of these foods should be avoided in general if you have braces—unless you have Invisalign, of course, which are removed for eating. But it’s especially important to avoid them when you are far from home. You don’t want to eat something that causes a bracket to pop off. In general, it’s best to stick to foods that are easy to clean off your teeth. This will make your oral care that much easier while you are on the road.

Here are some foods you will want to avoid while you are on your trip:
  • Any candies that are chewy, sticky, or gummy
  • Corn on the cob
  • Cookies or candies that are hard
  • Ice of any kind
  • Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Bagels

What to Do When a Braces Emergency Happens

Sometimes in spite of our best efforts, emergencies happen—and this can be true of something happening to your braces while you are traveling. Often an “emergency” has more to do with your comfort than ruining your treatment success.

Here are some of the common issues that might pop up while you are traveling as well as some suggestions as to what you can do about them. (Of course, you are always welcome to give our office a call and we can give you some suggestions as well.)
  • Food lodged in your braces. This is one of those situations that is definitely more about your comfort than anything else, but it can be a problem when you are away from home. Threaded dental floss will do the trick, but if you don’t have a threader handy, you might be at a loss as to how to handle this. What you can try is to very carefully use a toothpick to get rid of the stuck food, then rinse your mouth with water thoroughly.
  • Wire from your braces that is poking you in the cheek or gums. If you don’t have any dental wax with you, you can use a cotton swab or pencil eraser to try to gently push the wire out of the way. If the wire is extra long, you can take a nail clippers that has been sterilized and cut the excess wire. Be very careful in doing this. Be sure to call our office right away as soon as you get home so we can take a look at the spot and make any needed repairs.
  • One of your brackets broke off or has gotten very loose. If the bracket has completely come off, don’t panic! You can cover it up with dental wax to keep it in place for the moment. This will also help your gums from becoming irritated. Use a sterilized set of tweezers to slide it back into place first. Call our office when you get home so you can come in for an appointment.
  • If you have lost one of your Invisalign aligners, let us know right away and we’ll order a new set for you so it’s ready when you get back. Don’t automatically switch to your next set of aligners without talking to us about it first.
If you are interested in finding out more information about orthodontics or just about taking care of your braces, contact Prentice Orthodontics and one of our team members will be happy to assist you. We look forward to serving you and providing you with top-notch orthodontic care. Call us today!