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Back to School Tips: Braces for Teens

August 29, 2018

The new school year is here, which means new challenges for your teen. One of those challenges is taking care of braces. When it comes to braces for teens in Broomfield, the usual hustle and bustle of sports, activities, and studies can affect a routine. Be sure your child keeps their dental care a priority to ensure their teeth are in pristine condition both while wearing them and when they are removed.  

At-School Dental Care

Teens should carry a dental care kit with them to school. This will help them when they run into problems, have pain or need to take care of their teeth. Some items to put in the school dental care kit include:
  • Toothbrush to brush teeth after lunch
  • Floss and threaders to easily remove debris
  • Orthodontic wax to put on the wire that is penetrating the skin
  • Lip balm for dry and cracking lips
  • Gum relief paste to numb sore gums
  • Medicine to alleviate soreness (make sure you have it cleared with the school as some schools have policies on handling medication during the day)

Create Ways to Avoid Losing Invisalign®  Aligners

A common problem with teens that wear Invisalign aligners is how easy they are to lose. Teens should wear aligners approximately 20 to 22 hours each day. They can be removed for meals or to brush teeth, but otherwise need to be in place. It is incredibly easy for students to set down their aligner in a napkin while eating, only to have it gathered with other trash and thrown away. A great way to avoid this is to have a bright container that the aligner is placed in during the meal. Having a bright object in plain sight will help reduce the accidental urge to throw the aligner away. If it is a recurring problem, it can become costly. Work with your teen to find the best solution that will help them remember to put their aligner back in.

Use Floss and Picks

It is easy for food and debris to get stuck in one’s braces during the day. It’s important for teens to remove it as soon as possible. In between classes, it’s best for teens to grab his or her at-school dental care kit for floss or threaders. It only takes a minute or less, leaving plenty of time to get to their next class.

Mouth Guard for Sports

For teens that play sports, it is crucial to take additional precautionary measures to avoid added injury. When the mouth comes into contact, not only can the brackets hitting the skin cause damage, but the blow itself can damage braces. A key way to avoid this is by wearing a mouth guard. Special mouth guards can be made specifically for teens that have braces. These mouth guards provide a little extra room for the brackets and also keep the mouth safe. A great start is to speak with your local orthodontist on best mouth guards. When playing sports, your teen should be sure to follow the rules of the game for safety.

Issues and Emergencies

In the event of a dental emergency, make sure your teen has emergency numbers on file. This also should include your orthodontist’s phone number. Common orthodontic emergencies include:
  • Ligatures, brackets, bands or wires that are loose or broken
  • Loss of separator
  • High level of pain
  • Wire extending into the gum line
  • Loss of Invisalign aligner
  • Loose, cracked or broken tooth

Foods to Avoid at Lunch

The lunchroom is one of the top places for orthodontic issues to happen. There are many types of foods that shouldn’t be eaten if you have braces. Sticky or chewy food are especially risky as they can get caught in the brackets, wreaking havoc. Try to avoid the following foods to avoid any issues:
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard breads with sandwiches, pizza, etc.
  • Crunchy fruit and vegetables (i.e. apples, nuts, chips, pretzels, carrots or broccoli)
  • Chewy foods, hard candies, crackers or gum
  • Popcorn
  • Ice

It is important to know what foods are great to keep on-hand or choose while going through the lunch line:
  • Acidic foods
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Soup
  • Chili
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Cooked veggies
  • Pasta
  • Rice

Ideally, packing lunches are a cost-effective way to handle lunches and ensure your child is eating braces-friendly foods. For more ideas, review the soft foods for kids with braces.

Other Back-To-School Tips

In addition to practicing habits for orthodontic safety, it is important that your student practices a few other healthy habits for a great school year. First, students should get plenty of sleep for focus. Eight to nine hours of sleep is optimal. Not only will this help students feel great, but their mind will be clear for their studies, hence helping them work better. Naps can be factored into this. Second is working with your student to keep them organized. If their school does not provide a planner, invest in a great planner that they can note homework, activities, and more. Third is maintaining healthy nutritional habits. Eating a healthy diet rich in protein and vegetables will aid in better performance in the classroom. Sugar reduction is also key, which aids in dental health as well. Avoid food and beverages with added sugar, focusing on water and tea. Many young teens do not quite understand every element of a nutrition label, making for a great learning opportunity.

If you are considering braces for your teen, learn about the 10 common questions about braces from your orthodontist in Broomfield. Whether you are ready to add them on, or are an existing patient looking to ensure your student cares for their braces properly, Prentice Orthodontics is here to help. As a patient, we will work with you one-on-one to address any questions and concerns you have. We also have payment options to help make braces an affordable solution for your teen—or even yourself! Make sure you have our phone number in your phone and emergency phone list at all times: 303-468-7722. When not in the office, a member of our emergency team can take your call.