If you’re starting the school year with new braces or other orthodontic appliances, the transition back may be a little tricky. Choosing the right foods at lunch, trying to brush afterwards and making sure the braces stay intact during activities are just some of the challenges.

This school year, follow these tips to help ensure the year gets started smoothly —for both patients and parents!

4 x 2 = ?
This is an easy math problem . . . AND an easy solution to help keep your teeth healthy and clean. Brushing 4 times each day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime) for 2 minutes will keep your smile sparkling, your gums healthy and your orthodontist happy! If brushing your teeth during schools hours presents a challenge, swish vigorously with some water and brush as soon as you get home.

Lunchtime
Eating foods that can damage or break wires and brackets can be tempting at lunchtime . . . especially when mom and dad aren’t around watching. Sticky, gooey, crunch and hard foods are a definite “No-no.” Checking the weekly lunch menu — or packing a lunch — is a great way to make sure foods are brace friendly. For those wearing retainers, make sure you pack a retainer case to help keep those appliances from disappearing in a napkin or getting tossed in the trash.

Bring the H20
If you can, carry a water bottle with you or stop at the water fountain between classes. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will not only keep you hydrated, it will wash away the food particles, sugar, acid and bacteria that can harm your teeth. Also, don’t forget — water is best! Try to avoid sodas, sports drinks and sugary drinks and be sure to rinse or brush after you drink them.

Prepare Your Backpack
Keeping a brace kit in your backpack or locker is a great idea — making sure everything you need close at hand.  A brace kit should include: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, wax, rubber bands and a retainer case.  Need extra supplies? Ask your orthodontist at your next visit.

Grab a Mouth Guard . . . or Two!
When playing sports, or participating in physical activities, a properly fitted mouth guard is an important piece equipment. It will protect your braces, plus your teeth and jaw. Ask your orthodontist for a mouth guard specially made for braces.

Was a trip to the orthodontists on your Summer Bucket List?
Don’t worry . . .there’s still time!  Back-to-school is a great time to schedule your first appointment. Associated Orthodontists offers both in-person and virtual Complimentary Consultations, interest-free and flexible payment options, plus is a participating provider with most major insurance carriers. To find a location near you, or to schedule an appointment, please visit greatbraces.com or click here.