Tips for Having the Best Summer with Braces

Oh, it’s almost that time of year again—summer vacation. Whether you’re staying home, working a summer job, or heading to the airport, braces can make this season a little different. Today, Kottemann Orthodontics will give you some tips for having the best summer with braces.

Making Travel Easy

There’s one important element to this season, and that’s being able to take care of your braces on the go. You may or may not already have a dental kit that you carry around with you, but here are some of the items you’ll need if you don’t:

  • An orthodontic toothbrush has soft bristles and a small, angled head to clean around braces and brackets effectively.
  • Interdental brushes are small and narrow and can help with spaces between brackets.
  • Floss threaders are much more convenient than regular dental floss. They can reach beneath the wires as well as further back in the mouth.
  • Using orthodontic wax for emergencies or discomfort is always a great idea. It can help to cover sharp or protruding pieces that may irritate your lips or cheeks.
  • Elastic bands on hand are smart and can be used to secure loose brackets for a while until you get back to our office.
  • Travel-sized toothpaste can be used for outings on your vacation, as well as an orthodontic mouthwash.
  • Using a compact mirror or dental mirror can help you effectively see all areas of your mouth when you’re cleaning.

You can pack these in a way that’s appropriate to your setting. For example, if you’re hitting the beach, take heat exposure into consideration and keep it at the bottom of your larger bag.

Tips for Having the Best Summer with Braces

Other Summer Tips

These tips will be great whether you’re staying in Minneapolis or going abroad.

  1. Stay Hydrated: This is important for having braces in general, but obviously more so in the summertime. Staying hydrated helps prevent dry mouth, which can lead to quicker decay and is especially common with braces.
  2. Protect Your Braces: If you’re having some sporting fun, be mindful of which sport it is and whether it can jeopardize your braces. Mouthguards are key, especially for high-contact sports like football or basketball or ones where there’s even a small chance of getting hit in the face by the ball, like volleyball or kickball.
  3. Maintain Oral Hygiene: Don’t slack! Keep up your routine of brushing and flossing after every meal, especially after eating sugary snacks or beverages.
  4. Use a Water Flosser: Investing in a water flosser for effective cleaning can be super helpful for reaching difficult areas of the mouth.
  5. Choose Braces-Friendly Foods: Enjoy summer treats that will be gentle on your braces, such as soft fruits, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, and grilled fish and veggies. Also, be mindful of sticky and chewy foods that can damage your braces.
  6. Protect Your Braces at the Beach or Pool: When swimming, be mindful of the risk of damage to your braces from things like sand, chlorine, or salt water. For this reason, a mouthguard can also be used while swimming.
  7. Attend Orthodontic Appointments: Assuming you aren’t away the whole of summer break, don’t skip your appointments with your doctor! We know it can be a busy time, but staying on track is important for great results. The good news is we also offer virtual appointments if you absolutely can’t make it!
  8. Protect Your Lips: Using lip balm with SPF protects your lips from sunburn, which is key if you’re spending time outdoors. 
  9. Protect Your Braces from Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight can cause your braces to heat and become a bit uncomfortable especially metal braces. Consider wearing a hat or staying in the shade for extended periods to avoid discomfort from too much exposure.
  10.  Keep an Eye on Kids: If this information applies to your child, bear in mind that they aren’t always as vigilant on their own! Remind them of these tips, and make sure to check in on their progress. 
  11.  Remember the Goal: Discomfort and inconvenience of braces is a temporary effect. The benefits of having a straight, healthy smile are long-lasting. Whether it’s your first summer in braces or your second or third, remember what it’s all for!
  12. Enjoy Yourself: Above all else, have fun! We’re here to help answer any questions you may have to ensure that braces don’t get in the way of summer fun.

Tips for Having the Best Summer with Braces

Planning is Key!

If you have any additional questions about how to handle summer with braces, our team is here for you! It might be helpful to share your plans with us (i.e., extended travel/long distance) for individual advice. To schedule your first or next appointment, you can reach our office here!