It’s that time of year again! The temperature is cooling off, fall sports are underway, and all the kids are headed back to school. At Apt Orthodontics in Herndon and Ashburn VA we want to offer a few helpful tips for going back to school with braces!
Make sure to follow the 2×2 brushing rule: brush your teeth for TWO minutes, TWO times each day! This will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which leads to quicker appointments and healthier teeth. We advise students to bring a water bottle to school. Drinking water throughout the day helps to keep your mouth clean, fight cavities, and prevent bad breath. So bring your favorite water bottle along with you to school and keep sipping!
Another benefit of drinking water throughout the day is that it keeps you from reaching for sports drinks or soft drinks like Coke or Mountain Dew, which are full of acids and sugars that damage both your teeth and your braces. Stick with water and you can’t go wrong.
If you have braces, keep an extra pack of elastics in your backpack. And if you have a locker, it is wise to store some extra rubber bands in there, too. Remember that those elastics are responsible for aligning your teeth and jaws, so not wearing them could result in longer treatment times.
We know you have to eat in order to perform in the classroom, but you’ve got to eat smart! Remember to avoid foods that are hard, or crunchy, or chewy. This means bagels and cereal are bad breakfast choices because they can damage your braces. This can cause discomfort and lengthen your treatment time. Good breakfast foods for kids with braces include yogurt, fruit smoothies, and eggs.
When lunch time rolls around, soup is a great option for kids with braces. Also, softer veggies like cucumbers and peppers can make a great braces-friendly snack. Some patients have tried shredding carrots into thin, soft ribbons – this is OK but could lead to a very orange smile if the carrots get stuck in your braces!
Bananas make a great snack because they are easy on your braces but extremely healthy, being high in potassium and fiber as well as promoting heart and bone health. If you like hard fruits such as apples or pears, you must avoid biting into the raw fruit if you have braces.
You can still eat hard fruits, but you have to cut the fruit into bite-size pieces that can be chewed with the back teeth. Remember that damaging your braces can be painful and increase your treatment time, so take care of your braces!
For dinner, soup is an option again, as well as mashed potatoes or vegetables that are cooked or boiled until they become soft. Quinoa is good choice because it is a nutrient-rich grain that is small enough to not get stuck in an orthodontic appliance such as a palatal expander.
Good luck in school this year and remember to care for your teeth and braces every day!