School’s out and summer is upon us! With ample free-time, great sports, and novel activities like camp or summer vacations, the summer season could easily be assumed to be every teen’s favorite. Every teenager should certainly delve deep into the treasure trove of summer fun. But your orthodontist in Lents in Portland, Oregon is sounding just a note of caution: your braces don’t know it’s summer. All of the summer excitement, with its foods and fast flying baseballs, may not realize that your mouth is undergoing orthodontic treatment and needs special care. So here are three good ways to take care of your orthodontic equipment during the summer months.

1) Wear a mouthguard

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a snug-fitting mouthguard must be worn at all times when playing sports. It doesn’t matter if the sport is baseball, rugby, or badminton on the lawn, your child’s face needs to be protected! Not only is it expensive to replace damaged orthodontic equipment; the act of damaging it could harm your child’s mouth, which is far worse. Protect both with some practical prevention: the mouthguard. Since orthodontics make the custom-fitted kind a little awkward, purchase a high-quality mouthguard at your local drug store or health supply store and use it religiously! You never know when an accident could take place, it’s best to be prepared.

2) Don’t over-indulge

Like any holiday, the summer break offers special foods that, while delicious, aren’t always the best idea for orthodontic patients. There are many land mines in the world of orthodontic-foods-to-avoid, many of which are found at the fairs, carnivals, sports games and parties that are the hallmark of summer! Work with your child to choose foods safe for their orthodontic equipment, and let him or her lay some of the ground rules: if she doesn’t eat the candy apple this year, maybe she can have two when the braces come off (of course, brushing her teeth afterward!). Try picking foods that are gentler on braces, or bringing along orthodontic-friendly snacks to your parties or sports games.

3) Mind the hygiene

In a similar vein, summertime’s exciting and novel activities can sometimes throw off what is otherwise a flawless schedule of orthodontic hygiene. Sleepovers and vacations are prime times for kids to lapse in their oral care, but their mouths need the attention just as much as always! Of special concern is the higher incidence of unhealthy food eaten on sleepovers or vacations, like candy, soda, and carbohydrate-rich snacks. Orthodontic equipment, while a miracle of modern medicine, does require much stricter teeth cleaning habits to maintain oral health throughout treatment. Any lapse can put your child’s mouth at greater risk for cavities, and that’s no way to spend a vacation!

Safety is fun

As our patients know, we’re all about fun at Senestraro Family Orthodontics. These tips aren’t meant to spoil anyone’s good time. In fact, having a healthy smile makes every good time better! Schedule your next appointment today for some summer fun with your orthodontist in Oregon.