30 Jul Taking on Summer with Braces
You just got your braces on. After a steady diet of ice cream for two weeks, you were feeling pretty good. But slowly, things returned to normal. Now, it’s summer, and you have to figure out how to still have the best summer ever—despite a mouth full of braces.
If that’s your situation, you’re not alone! Approximately 4 million people across the United States wear braces. You’ll find that with a little care and intentionality, wearing braces, even in the summer, is not so bad.
To optimize your comfort and best protect your new mouth-gear, consider these tips.
1. Stick to the schedule.
When you got your braces put on, your orthodontist likely sent you away with what felt like a laundry list of instructions for caring for them. While it may have seemed daunting at first, as time went on, you probably got used the upkeep braces required. The important thing now is don’t stop.
In summer, the reliability of routines shaped by things like school and work often morph, taking on a more relaxed, fluid nature. This is a nice break from the pace of the school year, but don’t make your teeth foot the bill! Avoid letting the change of pace or any travel you might engage in throw you off your routine. Ensure that you follow through on the care routine that your orthodontist prescribed.
2. Say no to the off-limit foods.
We know—grilled corn on the cob at a barbeque looks delicious. But just because it looks and smells amazing does not mean the corn will not get caught in your braces.
Summer brings with it plenty of opportunities to eat foods that are a hardship on braces, from corn on the cob to buttery popcorn to chewy taffy. While we know it’s hard to resist these summertime treats, your braces will thank you.
In addition to the obvious foods, you may want to consider limiting your intake of summer treats like popsicles and ice cream. Though they may not bother the braces themselves, sweets like these can stain your teeth with their bright colors or weaken your enamel with their high sugar content. The less you eat of these, the more your teeth will thank you.
3. Always be ready for emergencies.
Whether you’ve traveling ten hours away for summer camp or ten minutes away for soccer practice, it’s good to keep a “Braces First Aid” kit on hand. You never know when a wire might start poking the inside of your mouth or something might get caught in one of the brackets. It’s recommended to travel with some necessities, such as braces-friendly floss, a travel-size toothpaste tube and toothbrush, an interdental brush, some orthodontic wax, and some pain relievers to minimize soreness, just in case. This way, you’ll always be prepared if something comes up.
4. Wear a mouthguard.
Sports seasons are in full swing! With school out, you’re likely to be at tournaments regularly, competing in a busy flurry of summertime fun. Yet, this also makes summer a peak time for sports-related injuries. As one Chicago dentistry says, “You’ll most likely be much more physically active in the summer. Whether you partake in contact sports, swimming, running, or another outdoor summer activity, you’ll be more susceptible to injuries. Sports, especially contact sports, can cause you to sustain injuries to your teeth, mouth and jaw if you don’t have the correct protective gear.”
If you’re wondering if you can still wear a mouthguard since you have braces, the answer is yes. Your dentist can make a custom-fit mouthguard which will protect your teeth and braces, a crucial part of keeping the summer fun.
5. Prioritize your appointments.
We understand—you’ve got big plans this summer! You may even have travel that takes you out of town for long stretches of time. And chances are, orthodontic appointments did not make your summer bucket list. While this is understandable (we like the beach too), it’s important to recognize just how crucial your appointments are. Each one is a meaningful step in moving you towards a braces-free smile! If that doesn’t motivate you, consider the fact that missing an appointment can prolong the amount of time that treatment takes.
If you want to get your braces off as well as monitor the health of your mouth along the way, it’s important to think ahead and schedule your orthodontics appointments around your travel plans. That way, you won’t have to push back an appointment at the last minute.
The Best Summer Ever
There’s no reason having braces in the summer should be a problem, as long as you follow the care routine prescribed to you. Summer can still be filled with all the things we know and love it for—delicious foods, games with friends, and long, lazy days in the sun.
If you don’t have braces yet, you may find that summer is the right time to have them put on. Away from the strict schedules of the school year, many people find that it is easier to have the procedure done and to endure the following discomfort.
Braces may be a pain at times, but in the long run, they’re helping your smile be the best it can be. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist if you have any questions about how to care for your braces.
If you’re considering clear aligners as an alternative to traditional brace, read about our services here.