Summer vacation is finally upon us, and many of us are busy planning adventures that will take us all over the country in the coming months. If you and your family will be doing any jet-setting or road-tripping, it’s important to keep up with caring for your braces to ensure your treatment isn’t interrupted (even if your regular routine is!)

Here at Dudley Smiles, we want you to get through the summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact without missing out on a minute of fun. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite tips for enjoying all your normal summertime activities while keeping your smile in shape at the same time!

DIY Braces Care

You probably already know that minor issues can crop up from time to time with your braces. Although this can be a bit of an inconvenience if you’re out and about, most of these problems are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items. Here are some simple solutions to sort out any orthodontic annoyances this summer!

General mouth irritation
Orthodontic wax is an easy way to take care of any non-specific irritation you may be experiencing in your cheeks, lips, or gums. 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 a wire can come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. You can correct this with 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
If you have a loose bracket, we do need to know about it as soon as possible. Once we’re aware of what’s happening, we can help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, you can try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth and placing a bit of orthodontic wax over the bracket to add stability.

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

As a braces patient, you’re equipped to handle quite a bit on your own. However, there may be times when you have a problem requiring immediate attention. Before you head out on your holidays, make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere. This should include both our phone number and our email address.

If you do happen to 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 likely 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 necessary, and if you need to be seen right away for any reason, we’ll find a qualified orthodontist nearby!

If you’re able to, try to take a clear photograph of the problem you’re experiencing, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing what’s going on more accurately, so you can get back to having fun as soon as possible.

Prepare an orthodontic travel kit

You don’t have to travel far and wide to take advantage of a well-stocked orthodontic travel kit. Even if you’re keeping things close to home this summer, it’s always a good idea to keep a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces on the go. Aside from the more obvious items like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik, considering adding other helpful items 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 (just check with Dr. Dudley 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 you can easily access it anytime you need it.

Stick to summer treats that are safe for your braces

With backyard BBQ’s, pool parties, and weekend sleepovers, summer is full of all kinds of tempting treats. Although the food restrictions that come with braces can make it tricky to say no, making smart choices now will be more than worth it when your treatment is complete and we reveal your amazing new smile!

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

Maintain your regular dental hygiene routine

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!

Dudley Smiles staff

Happy summer from Dudley Smiles!

Whatever summer has in store for you and your family, you can keep your braces and your smile protected by following the tips we’ve outlined above. And of course, you can always count on our expert team for support if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. Dudley Smiles is here to help you achieve a healthier smile this summer – and all year long!