]It’s back to school time, which can be a really exciting time for kids! If your child just got braces, he might be a little apprehensive about heading back. Whether it is due to the embarrassment of his friends seeing him with his braces for the first time or because you (or he) is afraid of how to care for them while not at home, there are ways to ensure him a successful school year as well as successful orthodontic treatment! Eat Healthy The first trick to keeping your braces intact and to avoid embarrassing episodes of food being stuck in them after lunch is to pack a healthy lunch. You know the foods that you are not supposed to eat: anything sticky, excessively crunchy, or sugary – avoid them. Instead, pack a lunch that is filled with cut up fruit and veggies, and lean protein. In the days following an adjustment, bring along hot soup in a thermos or softer foods, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, and pudding. Drink Water After your child eats lunch, have him rinse his mouth with water. Even if he drinks water with his lunch, the act of actually rinsing and spitting the water out can be enough to get rid of any debris that may have stuck in his brackets. Even things like bread or crackers can get stuck in the brackets, causing embarrassment for him throughout the day. Tell your child to take a bathroom break at his first chance and to rinse his mouth out in the bathroom to remove any debris that may be stuck. Pack an Emergency Kit Let your child keep a small orthodontic emergency kit in his backpack for times that he cannot get the food out of his braces with water, or when he has pain from a wire rubbing against his cheek. The kit should contain floss threaders, orthodontic wax, and even a small travel toothbrush. If he is having trouble with his braces, chances are his teacher will let him go to the bathroom to get the problem resolved. Knowing that he has the necessary supplies with him can help to alleviate some of the stress of caring for the problem while away from home. Wear a Mouth Guard If your child plays sports, a mouth guard is essential when he has braces. This will help to prevent serious injuries from occurring as well as more minor issues. Scratches on the cheek or tongue can be painful and embarrassing, but getting knocked in the mouth with a ball or even a body, depending on the sport, can be detrimental to his oral health. Protect your investment and his teeth with the proper mouth guard. Sending your child back to school with braces does not have to be stressful. There are simple ways to ensure his success and happiness rather than embarrassment. If he is worried about what to expect, talk to his teacher before the year begins to ask for her help in keeping him on track. He might just be too embarrassed to tell her that he needs to rinse his mouth after lunch or that he is having pain from a wire that is poking his cheek. Whatever the case may be, when you and your child’s teacher work as partners, your child can successfully start the school year with braces. Remember, the better care he takes of his braces, the more on target the treatment plan can stay! If your child has braces and is worried about the upcoming school year, schedule an appointment with us so that we can give him tips on how to succeed!