Sometimes it can be difficult going back to school after a summer of fun. You have to get back into a routine, going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, homework, after-school activities…there’s a lot to consider.
Add to all that the responsibilities of taking care of braces for the first time in school…that’s a lot to put on a kid!
Yes, returning to school with braces can seem intimidating at first, but there are several things you can do to help make things a bit easier for your child. Here’s a list of seven great tips that are proven to be helpful for the child going back to school with braces.
1. Pack a Braces Care Kit
If you don’t do anything else, just this one thing will make a huge difference for your child. The items should fit easily in a plastic pencil pouch for easy access and cleaning.
Items to include:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – use after lunch and snacks
- Dental floss and wax – floss after lunch and snacks, use wax as needed
- Lip balm – for keeping dry lips moisturized
- Extra elastics if needed – because you can never have too many extras
- Unsharpened pencil – eraser end can be used to nudge a stray wire back into place
2. Plan for Meals and At-School Snacks
Make sure your child has plenty of braces friendly foods to eat during the school day so they’re not tempted to grab foods that could be damaging to their braces. Learn what’s being served each day in the cafeteria so you can plan around the meals with foods that will not work for a child with braces.
3. Stress the Importance of Drinking Water
Send a bottle of water to school with your child. Instruct them on the importance of staying hydrated by drinking water, not sugary sodas, chocolate milk or other
sugar-sweetened drinks that can leave cavity-causing residue on the teeth.
4. Teach Your Child the Foods to Avoid and Why
It’s important that your child knows not only which foods to avoid, but why it’s important not to eat them right now. Help them understand the damage that can be done to their braces, so they’re more likely to comply with sticking to the right foods.
5. Make Sure They Have a Mirror Handy
Nothing could be more embarrassing than to go all day with some piece of food stuck in your braces and not finding out till you get home. Be sure that doesn’t happen to your child by providing them with a small mirror they can carry with them or stow in their locker. Having easy access to a mirror will allow them to quickly and frequently check for lingering bits of food.
6. Wear Mouth Protection During Gym or Other Sports Activities
It’s great that your kids are staying active; it’s important to overall good health. But it takes on a new element of danger for kids with braces. Make sure your child has a mouth guard large enough to fit around the braces and that it’s worn during any periods of physical activity.
7. Encourage Your Child Not to be Self-Conscious
Many years ago, far fewer children wore braces, so the ones who did really stood out and were often a target for bullying and unkind remarks. Today, a much larger percentage of kids are wearing them and it’s become much more acceptable.
So it’s important to stress to your child that there’s really no reason to be embarrassed or afraid to smile just because now they have braces. The truth is, there are probably only a handful of other kids who will even notice.
We hope you’ll find these tips helpful for your child going back to school with braces. If you have any other concerns or questions, you’re welcome to contact our office at any time and we’ll be happy to help!