Back to School with Braces: Tips from your Austin Orthodontist

Fall is almost here!  Temperatures will soon start leveling off (perhaps a bit later than usual in Austin, TX), team sports are underway, and the kiddos will be heading back to school very soon!  At RJ Orthodontics in Austin’s Steiner Ranch, we want to offer some helpful orthodontics and braces tips for kids as they start their journey into a new year of school.

Brushing: Make sure your child follows the 2×2 brushing rule. This means brushing for 2 minutes, 2 times each day. By keeping their mouth and teeth clean, your child can have quicker appointments and healthier teeth. Make sure you pack a brushing kit in your child’s backpack, so they can brush after lunch.

Hydration: Water is the secret ingredient that keeps your body hydrated and mouth clean from decay and cavities. Make sure your child takes a bottle of water to school every day and avoids sugary drinks.

Elastics: Rubber bands play an important role in helping move your child’s teeth to their desired position. Make sure your child keeps an extra pack of elastics in their backpack and even in their lockers. Not wearing elastics could prolong treatment times.

Eating Smart: A balanced diet is needed for the brain to function optimally and also helps keep your braces in good condition. Your child should avoid foods that are hard, sticky or crunchy.  These foods can damage the wires and brackets used in braces. This damage can cause discomfort and lengthen treatment times. For breakfast, we recommend fruit smoothies, yogurt and eggs.  For main dishes, look for soft cooked vegetables and starches including spaghetti, macaroni & cheese and lean cuts of soft meats. For snacks, your child can enjoy soft fruits such as bananas which are high in potassium and fiber which promotes heart and bone health. Other suitable fruits include cut up apples or pears which your child can chew with their back teeth.  Biting into hard fruits can cause damage to braces.  If your child is wearing Invisalign, then there are not many food restrictions since the aligners can be removed while eating. Just make sure that they thoroughly brush their teeth after every meal and keep their aligners clean as well.

Good luck in the 2018 – 2019 school year and remember to properly care for your teeth and braces every day! Contact RJ Orthodontics in Austin Texas with any questions or to schedule an initial complimentary consultation.

Caring for your braces while on vacation

Orthodontic tips from your Austin Orthodontist

Braces are beneficial for straightening the teeth, but if you’re going on a vacation, there are a few tips that you need to remember so that you enjoy time with your family while keeping the braces secure. Before leaving on your vacation, Austin orthodontist, Dr. RJ Jackson can recommend a few supplies to take with you to help keep the brackets clean and to prevent any damage to the brackets or wires. When you pack your bag to take on your vacation, there are some items that you don’t want to leave at home:

  • Floss for getting between brackets and underneath wires
  • Toothbrush to ensure that the teeth stay clean
  • Mouthwash to remove debris from the mouth after brushing
  • Wax that can be put on wires to prevent them from poking the mouth

You can get a small plastic travel bag for toiletries to use as an oral hygiene kit. Some stores sell kits for people who have braces.

If you can’t contact your orthodontist office while you’re on vacation, you could search online for an office in the area you’re visiting. Many orthodontists will provide some kind of answer or relief to any questions that you have.

There are a few foods that you should avoid while on vacation as there are a few more temptations while away from home:

  • Anything sticky
  • Whole fruits
  • Corn still on the cob
  • Foods that are hard, like cookies or nuts

If you have an aligner and happen to lose the tray, you can wear the tray you had in before or the next one until you can get back to the office. Have a fun vacation, but take care of your teeth and braces at the same time.

Five ways to care for your braces during Orthodontic treatment

Happy girl wearing braces in Austin Texas

Once your braces are in, it is very important to know the steps to take in order to ensure that they do their optimal job in moving your teeth to their correct positions.  Here at RJ Orthodontics in Austin, we provide you with 5 simple steps to care for your braces while undergoing treatment.

1. Flossing

Make sure to floss up to twice daily as this will help clean the areas between the teeth, especially those that brushing may miss. You might also want to use a floss threader which could help you floss around your braces and brackets.  Flossing after meals is recommended, so try to floss after lunch and dinner.

2. Brushing

Brushing your teeth while wearing braces is not much different than brushing without braces. You should use a soft bristle toothbrush or power toothbrush and brush for a full two minutes. However, you might consider replacing your toothbrush every three months or sooner as the metal brackets on your braces may cause your toothbrush to wear down faster. Also make sure to brush all parts of your teeth including front, back, sides, chewing surfaces and even your tongue and roof of your mouth.

3. Using Elastics

If Dr. Jackson has prescribed elastics, make sure they are worn at all times, except when brushing teeth or eating meals.  Sometime is you fail to wear your elastics, even for one day, your teeth may start to shift back towards their initial position.

4. Addressing Damage to Your Braces

In the event that your braces get damaged, please call our office immediately to setup an appointment.

5. Eat Braces Friendly Foods

Finally, we have to address the part that deals with foods you must avoid. As a general rule of thumb, please avoid foods that are hard, chewy or sticky. These foods could include gum, ice, hard taco shells, pizza crust, popcorn, corn on the cob, apples, celery, carrots, crunchy chips, caramel, toffee, tootsie rolls and gummy candy.  Dr. Jackson can provide you with a more comprehensive list of foods that you should avoid.

We hope this information helps you take better care of your teeth while undergoing Orthodontic treatment at RJ Orthodontics in Steiner Ranch Austin!