By Dr. Robert Sunstein,
La Jolla & Carmel Valley Orthodontics Specialist
As we gear up for the academic season, many students are heading back to school with braces on their teeth. And although this change can be seen as an aesthetic one, wearing braces is certainly more than meets the eye – especially when it comes to hygiene, care and confidence.
When it comes to caring for braces, here are the essential things to take back to school this year. Remember, with the right care, braces can be an easy transition for almost any student. It can even give your child the confidence she needs to excel at school (check out my previous column on how braces can give your student a
new sense of self-esteem.)
Eat The Right Foods
When you child transitions into the new school year with new braces, the types of foods consumed will inevitably change. Chewy, crunchy or gummy foods are NOT the ideal choices due to tooth sensitivity. But what’s more, these types of foods can also cause damage to braces so steer clear of anything questionable including:
GRANOLA BARS, PEANUTS OR TORTILLA CHIPS.These types of crunchy foods can not only be painful to chew but can also cause damage to wires or brackets.
- Pita bread and dips like ranch or a healthier option like hummus.
- Fruit and grain bars.
FRUIT SNACKS, CANDY, GUM.Stay away from chewy foods since they can easily get caught in between brackets and wires. Plus, any chewiness can pull brackets or wires out of place.
- Fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries or bananas which are softer yet satisfy the sweet tooth.
SODA.Sugar can easily stick to the surface of the teeth and get in between small spaces. Avoid sugary drinks including juices and sports drinks.
- Flavored waters
- Iced tea
- Light mixes like Mio or Crystal Light
When kids go back to school with new braces, it can feel a little daunting when it comes to care and hygiene. It’s no secret that braces often present challenges like stuck food and soreness. Equip your child with these essentials to ensure the transition is smooth and easy – and give your kid something to smile about with a newfound confidence!
TRAVEL TOOTHPASTE AND TOOTHBRUSH.A quick brushing can remove stuck foods quickly and maintain your child’s sparkly smile throughout the day.
FLOSS.Keep your kid confident with floss. Food will inevitably get stuck in between teeth, but flossing after each meal will ensure a pretty, clean smile.
DENTAL WAX.Occasionally, braces can cause slight irritations in the mouth. Areas with sensitivity can be easily alleviated with dental wax placed on the bracket or wire.
TRAVEL MIRROR.A quick glance can give your child the confidence he needs when wearing braces at school.
LIP BALM.Lubrication is important inside and out of the mouth. Along with plenty of water, have your child use a lip balm to further moisturize the mouth area.
For more information on orthodontic care, call us in Carmel Valley at 858-755-1551, in La Jolla at 858-459-3353, or log onto