DIY Survival Kit for Your Braces at School
Whether you’ve just gotten your braces on or had them for a few years, caring for your braces at school can be a challenge. Fortunately, it is possible to plan for and schedule your oral hygiene at school.
Before we get started, though, some people might be wondering if it’s really necessary to brush their teeth and clean their braces at school if they’re cleaning well in the morning and before bed… The answer is YES! Any appliance in your mouth increases the potential for dental damage, because:
- Food can get caught on or around the appliance
- Bacteria causes plaque to build up around the appliance
- Bad breath can result from food debris and bacteria
- The tooth can discolor around it, leaving embarrassing marks behind when the braces come off
- Cavities, decay and abscesses can develop in extreme cases of dental neglect
DIY Survival Kit for Braces at School
In order to prevent these problems during your school day, it would be a good idea to put together a braces “Survival Kit” for school. We recommend:
- Collapsible Toothbrush: The great thing about these little toothbrushes is that the handle becomes a protective case, shielding your bristles from the rest of the kit… Also, they are small enough to fit into easy-to-carry kits like this.
- Fluoride Toothpaste: It is possible to find small sweetened toothpastes for training toddlers, which don’t have fluoride… Don’t Use These! Make sure that you choose a pocket-size fluoride toothpaste for your kit. Fluoride will strengthen your teeth and get them cleaner than fluoride-free options.
- Small Floss Dispenser & Flossing Needle: You may be tempted to use disposable flossing sticks, but those won’t be effective with your braces. You need to get the floss under your braces and down into the gumline. Be sure to use a clean section of floss for each section of gum and tooth; otherwise, you’ll just be spreading bacteria from tooth to tooth.
- Slim Brush (Interdental Cleaning Brush): It can be difficult to clean around brackets and along wires, even with dental floss. Instead, we recommend using a slim brush (a small cone-shaped brush that looks a little like a pipe cleaner).
- Wax: If you have a wire, bracket or post that your cheek gets caught on, you’ll want some wax to smooth it out, to prevent pain and canker-sores.
- Listerine Pocket-Spray or Breath-Strips: There are small bottles of Listerine you can buy, but they’re a bit bulky and if it comes open in your backpack, it’ll be troublesome and embarrassing. Listerine’s Pocket-sprays and Breath-strips are small effective ways to freshen your breath without using sugary mints.
- Rubber Bands (if needed): If you’re supposed to be using rubber bands during the day this kit will be a great place to keep them, to reinsert after your lunch.
- Rubber Band Hook: Also called “Elastic Placers”, rubber band hooks are small and convenient tools that help you lace your rubber bands on the proper brackets.
- Chapstick: If you’ve had braces for a while, you’re familiar with the uncomfortable stretching your lips go through when you open your mouth. This action alone isn’t a problem, but if your lips get dry, the constant stretching and catching on braces can cause your dry lips to crack and even bleed. Chapstick is a great way to keep your lips hydrated and healthy.
- Carrying Case: Anything big enough to carry your items and small enough to fit in your pocket or purse would work, but a regular sized Altoids tin would probably be ideal… just don’t eat all of the mints in one sitting, they’re not great for your teeth.
Whether you’re at school or not (and really, whether you have braces or not), you should be brushing after you eat lunch. To give yourself enough time, you should try to eat your lunch quickly, drink a water bottle and wait a few minutes, to let it and your saliva clean out your mouth before heading to the bathroom to brush, floss and prepare your teeth for the rest of the day.
Follow these easy tips with your DIY Braces at School Survival Kit and you’ll not only have a great smile, you’ll have fresh breath, too, both of which will put you ahead of the game in high school!