Orthodontic Smile Checklist

Dr. RJ wants students to have a beautiful smile and a strong bite before they return to school. Here is a great smile checklist that parents can use for their children.

Smile Checklist Tip 1: Visit an Orthodontist for an Evaluation

The summer vacation is an excellent time to arrange an evaluation from our orthodontist, Dr. RJ, to determine if you need to wear braces or aligners. If you do need to straighten your teeth with orthodontic care, then you can become accustomed to the devices before you return to school. Dr. RJ will use X-rays to determine if you can wear aligners or if braces are required instead. Younger children always wear braces, but teenagers can often use aligners to repair mild to moderate malocclusion.

Smile Checklist Tip 2: Stop Bad Habits

When you have bad oral health care habits such as forgetting to brush your teeth before bed or chewing on gum all the time, you should begin to overcome these problems now. You can start the school year with teeth that are sparkling white instead of having discolored dental enamel. By avoiding bad habits, you won’t damage the enamel on your teeth with the constant grinding from chewing gum.

Smile Checklist Tip 3: Wear a Mouth Guard

Before you return to school, you should talk to Dr. RJ about an orthodontic mouth guard for your teeth so that you can play contact sports without worrying about damaging your gums or your teeth. Remember to wear your mouth guard at school sports and for other sport activities.

Smile Checklist Tip 4: Eat Nutritious Lunches

Your parents may serve you nutritious meals at home, but you may make bad choices for your lunch. If you pack your own lunch for school, then choose fresh or packaged containers of fruits or vegetables along with sandwiches that are on whole-grain bread. Buy fresh milk in the school cafeteria, or you can bring along a container of natural fruit juice or water instead.

Smile Checklist Tip 5: Drink a Lot of Water

Drinking a lot of water can keep your soft oral tissues hydrated to prevent a dry mouth. If your mouth is dry, then it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that cause bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. The average individual requires eight glasses of water a day, but if you are active or if the weather is hot, then you will need to drink much more than this.

Smile Checklist Tip 6: Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing regularly are still the best ways to protect your teeth from dental health issues. Make sure to brush your teeth each morning and again at night, but you can also brush at other times when you have access to a toothbrush and toothpaste. You should also take advantage of the many types of dental flosses that are available to remove additional food debris and bacteria.

Smile Checklist Tip 7: Have a Care Packet for Your Braces or Aligners

When you wear braces or aligners, you must care for the items correctly to avoid disrupting your orthodontic treatments. Dr. RJ recommends having a care package or braces kit with you that contains the items required for your aligners or your braces. Some of these things will include having a plastic case for your aligners, carrying a toothbrush along with toothpaste, a small package of dental floss and having dental wax for your tender lips or gums.

For more questions or ideas to prepare to go back to school, give us a call at (512) 363-5792. To schedule a free orthodontic consultation with Dr. RJ, in Austin, Texas, fill out a consultation request form here.


5 Excellent Recipes For People With Braces

5 Excellent Recipes For People With Braces

Braces are delicate, and any immense external forces may cause damage and breakage to the brackets and bands. We have probably warned you against eating certain hard foods that may stand detrimental to the life of your braces. The following is a look into five soft and tender foods that you will enjoy as well as keep your braces in tact. Braces shouldn’t necessarily subject you to a boring menu.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Pasta plus tender meat should always pamper your teeth and braces while you enjoy the meal.


  • 2 lbs lean minced meat
  • 1 large peeled and chopped onion
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14 oz blend tomatoes
  • Pasta noodles of your choice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly grated parmesan


Pour the oil and onions in a large pan and fry over high heat for 3 minutes until the onions turn brown. Add the garlic and minced meat until they both turn brown. Stir in the ketchup and tomatoes. Bring the thick sauce to boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and let the sauce simmer with occasional stirring for about 30 minutes. Boil the pasta in a larger pan of boiling and salted water. Once cooked, drain excess water and rinse the pasta then put in back in the pan and pour your minced sauce. Serve with parmesan.


Baked Ravioli Pasta

It is another quick-to-fix meal that is braces friendly.


  • 14 oz  diced cherry tomatoes.
  • 24 oz pasta sauce.
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs fresh/frozen chicken ravioli.
  • 1 cup grated parmesan.
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella.
  • ½ cup chopped parsley.
  • 1 cup of water.


Heat the oven to 400°F. Brush some oil on a casserole dish. In the casserole dish, mix pasta sauce, water, and the chopped tomatoes. Add a layer of pasta on the mixture and sprinkle some mozzarella and parmesan on top. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the top of the dish turns golden brown. Sprinkle parsley before serving.


Berry Smoothie

The berry smoothie soothes the inner parts of your cheeks, especially when the braces are new and your mouth hasn’t got used to it. This recipe is quick, nutritious and doesn’t have limitations to what contents you may want to add to your smoothie.


  • ½ cup of vanilla yogurt.
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed berries.
  • ½ cup milk, almond or coconut milk.
  • 1 tsp protein powder.
  • Ice cubes.
  • Optional garnish: fresh berries or mint sprigs.


Blend everything, pour in a glass, and serve with some garnish.


Baked Potato Soup

This soup offers a soothing touch to your oral space, mainly when the braces are still new, and your mouth is sore.


  • 4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed.
  • 2 tbs margarine.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 2 green onions, chopped.
  • 3 slices of bacon.
  • 3 cups milk.
  • Shredded cheese.


In a large pan, fry the bacon and onions until they both turn brown. Put them aside. Melt the butter in a different pan and add flour and milk, while stirring until the mixture thickens. Season with pepper and salt before adding the baked, diced potatoes, onion and bacon. Garnish with shredded cheese and serve.


Potato Pancakes

The crunchiness of potato chips can be harsh on your braces, but potato pancakes are a nice alternative.


  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated.
  • 1 egg.
  • ½ cup chopped onions.
  • A ¼ cup of milk.
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour.
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder.
  • Oil for frying.


Blend all components to form a smooth paste. Heat the frying pan over medium heat and brush lightly with oil. Smear some batter into the pan and pat for about two minutes until it turns golden brown. Turn to the other side and let it cook until golden brown. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle salt and pepper and serve while hot.


These are just some of our favorite braces-friendly recipes. The general rule for choosing meals when on brace treatment is going for soothing, soft, and tender meals. Avoid spicy foods that might provoke any sore spots, especially when the braces are still new. Remember to stick to healthy and nutritious meals. 

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!