Summer vacation is finally upon us! Are you as excited as we are about all the sunshine, sleeping in, and swimming that’s about to happen? How about traveling? This time of year, many families set off on adventures all across the country – and sometimes the world. If you and your family are planning on any jet-setting or road-tripping in the next few months, we want you to have fun without losing sight of your orthodontic goals. That means keeping up with caring for your braces so your treatment isn’t interrupted, even if your regular routine is! That’s where our summer survival guide for braces come in handy!

To get through the summer with your braces and your treatment schedule, all you need is a little thinking ahead and a few helpful recommendations from us. You can enjoy all your normal activities and keep your smile in shape at the same time! Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite hints and tips on how to best care for your braces while you’re out there living your best life this summer.

Prepare an orthodontic travel kit

You don’t need a passport to take advantage of an orthodontic travel kit. Even if you’re keeping things close to home until school starts back up, it’s a good idea to keep a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces. Include obvious items like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik, but consider including other helpful items, too. This could be things like:

  • Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that’s similar to orthodontic wax
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness (but be sure to check with our doctors first!)
  • An unsharpened pencil or two, so you can use the eraser on any protruding wires

Place all these items in a small bag, then throw it in your backpack, purse, or suitcase so it’ll be easy to access anytime you need it.

DIY braces care for when you’re on the go

You may occasionally have a problem crop up with your braces while you’re out and about. Although this can be a bit of an inconvenience, many of these minor issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common household items. If you experience any of the following this summer, try these simple solutions in our braces survival guide to sort them out.

General mouth irritation
It’s not unusual to have some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums over the course of your treatment. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to take care of this! Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball before placing it over the source of irritation to provide relief.

Protruding wires
Occasionally, wires can come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. This can be fixed with nothing more than an ordinary pencil! Use the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some extra stability.

Loose bracket
Loose brackets are a problem we need to know about as soon as possible. Once you let us know what’s happening, we’ll help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Dr. Matthew Dunn and an assistant treating a patient.

But just in case…keep our contact details close by!

There are plenty of things you can handle on your own as a braces patient, but sometimes you may have a problem that needs immediate attention. Before you head out on vacation, review the survival guide for braces. Make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere, including phone numbers and our email address. If you run into an unexpected orthodontic emergency, give us a call and we’ll walk you through the next steps you need to take.

For most problems, it will be safe for you to wait until you’re home to follow up with us in the office, but we can also help you over the phone. If you need to be seen right away, we’ll find a qualified orthodontist nearby.

If you can, try to take a clear photograph of what’s happening, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing what’s happening more quickly and accurately, so we can get you back to having fun as soon as possible!

Stick to braces-safe treats

With all the backyard BBQ’s, pool parties, and sleepovers, summer comes with a variety of tempting treats. Although the food restrictions that come with braces can make it tricky, making good choices now will be more than worth it when your treatment is complete and we reveal an incredible smile!

To protect your braces and your smile, avoid anything that’s too crunchy or chewy this summer, such as ribs, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any kind of sticky candy, cake, or cookies. That may seem like a lengthy list of things to miss out on, but there are still plenty of delicious classics you can safely indulge in while wearing braces, like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and ice cream!

Maintain your dental hygiene routine for braces summer survival

It’s easy to get a little lazy in the summer, but when it comes to your braces, it’s extra important that you maintain your usual care and cleaning routine. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss daily, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Keeping your oral hygiene routine on track will keep your treatment progress on schedule, too!

Your Summer Survival Guide for Braces

Whatever exciting adventures you and your family have planned for this summer, remember to keep your braces protected by following the tips we’ve outlined above. You can also count on our expert team for support if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. We’re here to help you achieve a healthy smile this summer – and all year long!

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