It’s finally summer, which means a summer vacation is hopefully on the horizon for you! It’s hard for us as orthodontists to take a break in summer because we’re so busy with patients who have time off from school, but we hope all of you get the chance to travel.

Just as a friendly reminder, traveling can complicate some very important habits, like regular brushing and flossing. It’s particularly hard for kids with braces, because their oral hygiene routines are usually more involved.

Here are some ways for you and the kids to keep bright smiles throughout those hectic summertime schedules!

1) Take Portable Travel Items

Oral hygiene travel items

Your usual setup for brushing, flossing, and (possibly) rinsing with mouthwash won’t work when you’re on the road or in the air.

To make up for this, pack plenty of travel-sized oral hygiene items. Some good ones include small rolls of floss, on-the-go packets of mouthwash, portable toothbrushes, and even sugar-free gum! These will keep your mouth fresh and clean wherever you go.

Don’t forget to put your items in a place that’s easy to access, like a purse, pocket, or carry-on bag. They won’t do you any good if you pack them in your checked baggage or bury them at the bottom of a pile of luggage in the trunk of your car!

2) Protect Your Braces

Many of our patients with braces have exciting summer plans. For those who want to participate in outdoor activities on their vacations, we recommend a mouth guard. The reason is because your braces can be damaged when you play sports or get active with a mouth that’s unprotected.

Not only could your braces be damaged, but so could your mouth! Braces can cause mouth cuts or tooth injuries in the event of breakage. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have routine dental and orthodontic check-ups before you hit the road, just to ensure that everything looks good.

3) Keep That Retainer Up

We have patients in every stage of orthodontic treatment, including people in the home stretch with a retainer. To keep your retainer effective, it’s important to do a few things.

Woman smiling

First of all, wear it all the time except for meals and when you’re playing sports (and if you’re playing sports, see tip #2 above). It can’t retain the new arrangement of your teeth if it’s not in your mouth. (If we’d invented a retainer that could do that, we’d be retired already!)

Second, be sure to brush your retainer each time you brush your teeth. It can attract plaque and tartar just like your teeth do, and you don’t want to have all that in your mouth because of a dirty retainer.

Enjoy your vacation!

If you bring portable hygiene items and take good care of your braces or retainer, you should have a smile to smile about come next fall! We hope you all have a wonderful summer!

For a beautiful smile!
Drs. Cater and Galante