Summer is the perfect time for swimming, sleeping in, and laying around being lazy in the sun. It’s also a great time for traveling with your family, taking in new sights and spending lots of quality time together. If you’ve got any jet-setting or road-tripping planned for the next month or two, we want to remind you how important it is to keep up with caring for your braces, wherever you may be. This will ensure your treatment isn’t interrupted, even if your regular routine is! 

To help you get through the next month or two with your braces and your treatment schedule intact, the Ollins Orthodontics team has put together a few helpful recommendations. Don’t worry – you can have plenty of fun in the sun without losing sight of your orthodontic goals! Keep reading below for some of our favorite tips on how to best care for your braces while you’re taking advantage of all the awesome stuff that summer has to offer.  

Prepare an orthodontic travel kit 

Whether you’re setting off across the sea or keeping it closer to home while school’s out, you’ll always benefit from keeping a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces. Include the obvious items like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik, but consider packing other items that may be helpful as well. We recommend:

  • 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 (but be sure to check with our doctors first!)
  • An unsharpened pencil or two, so you can use the eraser on any protruding wires (we’ll have more on this below.)

Once you’ve placed all items in a small, secure bag, you can throw it in your backpack, purse, or suitcase. This way it will be easily accessible anytime you need it.

Dr. Ollins working on a patient's teeth

Caring for your braces when you’re on the go 

It’s not uncommon to have a problem crop up with your braces every once in a while.  While this can be a bit of an inconvenience, many of these minor issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items you probably have laying around the house. If you experience any of the following this summer, try these simple solutions to get them sorted out. 

General mouth irritation

You can expect some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums to happen occasionally over the course of your treatment. Orthodontic wax is an easy fix for this! 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

Every once in a while, a wire may come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. You can use an ordinary pencil to fix this! Place the eraser end over the wire and 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

Let us know about any loose brackets as soon as possible, so we can determine what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth and placing orthodontic wax over it to add stability.

…but just in case, keep our contact details close by

There are a number of issues you can handle on your own as a braces patient, but sometimes you may encounter a problem that requires immediate attention. Before you head out on vacation, make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere, including phone numbers and our email address. This way, you can easily reach us if you run into an unexpected orthodontic emergency. 

For most problems, it will be safe for you to wait until you’re back home to follow up with us in the office. But, if you’re out of town and need to be seen right away, we can help you find a qualified orthodontist nearby. 

If you’re able to, try to take a clear photograph of what’s giving your trouble, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing what’s happening more quickly and accurately, so we can get you back to having fun ASAP!

Stick to treats that are safe for your braces

Summer is full of tempting treats, and we know how frustrating food restrictions can be when you’re wearing braces. But making good choices now will be more than worth it when your treatment is complete and we reveal your beautiful new smile! 

To protect your braces and your smile, you’ll want to be careful to avoid anything that’s too crunchy or chewy this summer, such as ribs, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any sticky candy, cake, or cookies. This may seem like a lengthy list of things to miss out on, but there are still plenty of delicious classics you can safely indulge in while wearing braces, like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and ice cream!

Dr. Ollins showing a patient their teeth in a mirror

Make sure you maintain your dental hygiene routine

It’s easy to get a little lazy in the summer, and most of us let at least some of our regular routines slide. When it comes to your braces, however, maintaining your oral hygiene is essential. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss every night before bed, and use a waterpik regularly if you have one. Keeping your cleaning and care routine on track will keep your treatment progressing as scheduled, too. 

Have a safe and happy summer from Ollins Orthodontics

Whatever adventures you and your family have planned for this summer, you can easily care for and protect your braces by following the tips we’ve outlined above. Remember that you can also count on our team for expert support if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. We’re here to help you achieve a healthy smile through every season!