Back To School Braces Guide

We don’t know about you, but here at Buttram Orthodontics, we’re not ready for summer to end! It seems like it takes forever to get here, then disappears in the blink of an eye. As sad as we are to see it go, summer is definitely on its way out, and back-to-school season is in full swing. We’re replacing our sunscreen and pool floats with backpacks and school supplies, and as we settle down into the routine of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to talk about proper braces care during the school day.

For students who are headed back to school for the first time since beginning orthodontic treatment, this is especially helpful information, as any new adventure comes with its own set of challenges. But wearing braces at school doesn’t have to be a hardship! Even though it’s normal to have some feelings of anxiety or worry in the first few days and weeks, this will quickly become just another part of your child’s daily routine. Buttram Orthodontics want our student patients to head back to school with a smile, so take a look at these tips on how to make the transition from summer vacation to school days go as smoothly as possible!

Stay prepared for any braces-related issues during the school day

We recommend all of our braces patients keep a basic care kit with them at school, especially those who haven’t been wearing them for very long. Having a few common items on hand can help keep students prepared for any potential braces-related problems that may pop up during the school day. Many of these kits include things like:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • orthodontic wax
  • lip balm
  • an unsharpened pencil

These items can be useful in many different ways. Because the brackets and wires that braces are composed of can easily trap stray food particles, we encourage brushing after lunch, with a quick floss added if your child has time. For lips, gums, and cheeks that are experiencing slight, temporary irritation, a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax placed over the problem area can offer immediate relief. Sometimes, wires can slip out of position and poke into the cheek, causing minor pain. The eraser end of a pencil can nudge it back into place. Last but certainly not least, lip balm is a must-have for lips that feel dry due to braces-wearing!

Buttram Orthodontic patients

Stay smart about braces care, at home, and on the go

Wherever your child may be at any given moment, it’s important that they remember to care for their braces. That means the same rules apply whether they’re at home, at school, or anywhere in between. This holds true even when it comes to food restrictions, which can be one of the biggest challenges your child will face while undergoing orthodontic treatment. While it’s easy enough to avoid anything too sticky or crunchy at home where you have control over the menu, 

it can be a bit more tricky if your child tends to buy their lunches at school, or uses a vending machine for snacks in between classes.

In order to keep your child’s treatment progressing on track, check the school’s lunch menu every week and look for braces-friendly options. If this tends to end up short on healthy options, bringing lunch to school instead can sometimes make things simpler. Pack soft options like pasta, soups, and other soft options in a Thermos, or cut sandwiches into smaller bites the night before to make them easier to chew. Soft cheeses, yogurt, and applesauce make excellent additions to your child’s lunch bag, and will help keep them feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day while also being gentle on their braces.

Braces care doesn’t stop with what your child is munching on! What your child chooses to drink also affects their braces. Drinking water throughout the day will not only keep them hydrated, but it will also help to wash away any rogue food particles clinging to their teeth and braces. Encouraging your child to stick to plain water over soda, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks, as these can cause staining and an increased risk of cavities. For the occasional indulgent sweet drink, have them use a straw to keep sugar as far away from their teeth as possible. 

Stay safe!

If you have a child in braces who play sports regularly, or one who participates in gym or P.E. classes, an orthodontic mouthguard can be a wise investment in their smile! Sports and other physical activities increase the risk of braces being damaged and the cheeks, gums, or mouth being injured. Orthodontic mouthguards are designed to be worn with braces, and they are one of the easiest, most affordable ways to prevent breakage and injury. Dr. Buttram has orthodontic mouthguards available upon request.

Buttram Orthodontic patients

Start this school year off with a smile from Buttram Orthodontics

For kids heading back to school with braces on, it’s normal to have some feelings of nervousness, especially if it’s their first year doing so. Even patients who have been in braces a while can struggle with feeling slightly more stressed than usual in those first few weeks! This is a common reaction, but fortunately, there’s nothing to fear. The period of transition tends to be relatively brief, and life with braces will become the new norm for your child in no time at all.

Buttram Orthodontics has been creating beautifully aligned smiles for patients of all ages in Panama City and the surrounding areas for years. Dr. Buttram and the rest of our skilled staff are known for providing optimal orthodontic care to every patient we see, and we work hard to make the orthodontic process as rewarding and stress-free as possible. We want your child to look forward to the journey towards a straighter smile! If either of you has any questions or concerns about navigating the upcoming school year while wearing braces, please get in touch with us. We’ll do everything we can to set your minds at ease. We can’t wait to see your child’s straight-A smile in the coming months!