Wearing braces can feel like a major lifestyle adjustment. Suddenly, you’re faced with situations you never really thought of before. For example, what happens when you indulge in the spinach dip appetizer at your favorite restaurant? How do you handle lunchtime at school, when you’re away from the comfort and privacy of your bathroom at home?
Fortunately, adapting to life with braces isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. With a little preparation and a few affordable supplies, you’ll be a braces-wearing pro in no time.
Here are some essential items to keep in your on-the-go braces care kit. You can find all of these items online, at a pharmacy, or in a retail store.
1. Toothbrush and toothpaste
At a minimum, your away-from-home braces survival kit should include a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. When you wear braces, it’s much easier for food and bacteria to build up on the teeth throughout the day. Good oral hygiene is incredibly important to keep your smile looking as healthy as possible.
Some people like to purchase a travel-size toothbrush that folds into its handle, along with a small tube of toothpaste they can easily fit in their pocket, a purse, or a backpack. You can even buy pre-pasted toothbrushes with the toothpaste already applied to the bristles.
2. Floss or Interdental Picks
Everyone who has worn braces has a story of getting something stuck in a wire or bracket. There is no getting around the fact that wearing braces means a higher likelihood of food ending up firmly – and annoyingly – wedged under a wire or around a bracket. This can lead to embarrassing encounters, or even just an annoying sparring session between your tongue and a wire.
Make sure your to-go kit contains floss, a floss threader or two, or another tool for cleaning under wires and around brackets. Many patients prefer using an interdental brush or pick, which make it easy to quickly slide under wires.
3. Dental Wax
Braces exert powerful pressure on your teeth. The hours and days after an adjustment can be grueling – not to mention painful! Brackets can dig into the sensitive skin inside the mouth, causing sore spots and small cuts. Keep a little dental wax in your kit, so you always have it handy. In most cases, a small dab of wax over an irritating bracket is all it takes to make life bearable again.
4. Lip Balm
Wearing braces and chapped lips tend to go hand in hand. Braces stretch the lips over the teeth, which can irritate the inside of the mouth and lead to dry lips. Keep a tube of lip balm or lip gloss handy to soothe dry and cracked lips. It’s also important to drink plenty of water, which will help you avoid dehydration and dry skin.
5. Pain Relievers
It’s not always easy to predict when braces will cause tooth pain. For some patients, adjustments can lead to headaches and tension in the neck and shoulders. Most people tolerate this discomfort without the need for pain relief, but it’s always good to have some Tylenol or Advil on hand when your teeth are sore.
If you can’t find a bathroom, a pocket-size mirror can come in handy when you need to check your smile after a meal or before a meeting or other event. In a pinch, some patients even get creative and use the camera on their smartphone to check their smile.
Several companies sell braces survival kits; however, you can easily and affordably make your own. Once you have gathered the items you need, store your supplies in a small bag that is easy to grab whenever you’re on the go.
It’s also a good idea to make a few bags, so you can keep one in the car, your backpack, and your locker at school. Adults who wear braces usually like to keep a bag in the car and another at work.
Interested in braces for you or your child? We treat children, adolescents, teens, and adults throughout San Diego and the surrounding communities. Call today to schedule a braces consultation. We can help you achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you have always dreamed of.