School’s out, you’re enjoying the summer weather, and it’s time to kick back and relax. Summer vacation is great, but as routines become more relaxed, it’s easy for children to get out of the habit of cleaning their teeth and braces. And if problems with braces arise while you’re away on vacation, you’ll want to be prepared to handle the emergency until you can get in to see us at Glow Orthodontics.
Here are our best tips for managing your children’s orthodontic care over the summer:
Create a visual dental care reminder.
Children may routinely take care of their teeth and braces during the school year, but loss of that structured schedule in summer may tempt them to let a few days slide without the extra attention required of brushing around their braces.
You can get around this problem by creating a visual reminder. Depending on the age of your children, the reminder could be as simple as fastening a silly image on the bathroom mirror, or you may consider using a chart or calendar that they can mark with a sticker every time they brush their teeth and braces.
If your children need extra motivation, you could turn the chart into a reward system that gives them something special for a week without missing their daily teeth and braces routine.
Remind children about food choices.
Summertime gives children more opportunities to eat foods that can get under their braces and cause tooth decay, like ice cream and popsicles.
When they’re on vacation or at a friend’s house, children may also forget about habits that protect their braces, like cutting food into bite-sized pieces. You may need to frequently remind them to brush after eating and to stay away from chewy and sticky foods, hard candy, popcorn, and whole fruit.
Keep an eye on retainers.
If your child wears a retainer during the day, you’ll need to establish some rules about how to safely store the retainer when it’s removed for activities like water sports. The best way to manage a retainer depends on each child’s age and circumstances. The key is to reduce the risk of losing it by coming up with a plan that’s easy for your child to follow. It is better to secure the retainers in a safe place such as inside a dresser drawer or suitcase, than have housekeeping at a hotel toss the retainers out. Retainers wrapped in a napkin will be tossed out, so retainers in the container when not being worn.
Take a braces care kit on vacation.
Create a braces care kit that gives you the tools you’ll need to take care of problems when you’re away on vacation. Keep this kit separate from the dental items you pack for daily use. Your kit should contain:
- Dental floss and floss threaders
- Sterile tweezers
- Cotton swabs
- Interproximal brush
- Extra elastics
- Non-medicated orthodontic wax
- Topical dental anesthetic
These items can help you temporarily cover most orthodontic emergencies. For example, you may:
- Use an interproximal brush or toothpick to remove food caught in the braces
- Use the tweezers to remove a loose wire
- Use a cotton swab to push a loose wire flat against the tooth
- Use orthodontic wax to cover the end of a loose wire
- Use orthodontic wax to protecting soft tissues irritated by the braces
If you’re at home and orthodontic problems arise, call Glow Orthodontics, and we’ll schedule a prompt appointment. In the meantime, this emergency kit may save you from a trip to the orthodontist while you’re enjoying your vacation.