The air begins to cools and days become shorter, signaling every parent’s favorite season: back to school! If your teen is in the middle of orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners, you may be a more concerned than usual.
How can you be sure they are not falling behind on treatment? There can be a lot involved in orthodontic treatment, like elastics (aka rubber bands), diligent hygiene (brushing), and wearing the appliances as your doctor prescribes.
Here are a few suggestions to help your teen stay on track during the school year:
One of the biggest adjustments for kids with braces is learning what foods to eat, and more importantly, what foods to avoid. That’s why we recommended reading up on meal-prepping braces-friendly lunches before sending your kiddo off to school. You’ll want to avoid hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods. So skip the chips, crackers, nuts, and corn on the cob.
With aligners, your teenagers meal and snack options are nearly unlimited. They will need to keep their aligner case in their pocket or backpack at all times. If taking their aligners out to eat, they’ll need to immediately put them in the aligner case. Wrapping them in a napkin will ensure they will end up in the garbage.
Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene
Your teen must clean their mouth after eating with braces and aligners. Provide your teen with travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss picks so that they can clean their teeth whenever they need to. With braces, any food particles left behind need to be immediately brushed from the braces. With aligners, your teen will need to swish with fresh water after eating to remove sugars and foods before reinserting their aligners. If they don’t, the aligners may become stained, putting your teen at risk of cavities.
Brushing is recommended at least 3 times per day for all orthodontic patients.
Keeping Aligners Safe and Sound
The aligner storage case is arguably the most important thing your teenager with aligners should have. Allow them to customize their case or ask your orthodontist for case options that might better fit your teen’s lifestyle. If they have a cool case, they’ll be more likely to remove their aligners before eating and get them reinserted quickly. Plus, they’ll be much less likely to misplace or throw away their aligners at lunch!
Fighting Off Bad Breath & Cavities
Throughout the day, plaque and bacteria naturally accumulate in the mouth. Unfortunately, the longer they remain there, the more likely it is that they will cause problems for your teen’s oral health! These particles can linger in the mouth, causing bad breath, cavities, and even gum disease. Along with adequate brushing, it helps to stay hydrated. Encourage your teen to pack a water bottle each day and be sure to ask us about our Spark water bottles at Clear Smiles.
Feeling Confident with Aligners
Even though aligners are virtually invisible when worn, your teen may experience self-consciousness while wearing them. Assure them that they look fine, and perhaps take photos of them now and then to show them how invisible their aligners are. If you think this will be a concern for your teenager, be sure to mention it at your initial consultation. Many times, your orthodontist can minimize attachments on the front teeth to make aligners even more invisible.
Aligners provide flexibility when it comes to eating, sports, playing instruments, and living a healthy teenage lifestyle, but they also come with a lot of responsibility. Helping your teenager stay on track with their treatment during the school day will prepare them to be a responsible adult with a beautiful smile!
Ready to start your Smile journey?
If you’re interested in learning more about clear aligners in Dallas or Houston, Book your Smile Evaluation today to see if treatment is right for you.