Parent’s Guide to Going Back to School with Braces

It’s the time of year that all parents look forward to (and their kids secretly do too)一school has started once more! The beginning of a new school year can mean a lot to families in the Asheville area: new teachers to meet, new friends to make, and life will return to its normal schedule.

Though the transition can be difficult at times, one thing that never makes it easier is dealing with braces for the first time. Orthodontists see a lot of new patients over the summer months, and plenty of kids will welcome the school year with a fresh set of hardware on their teeth.

Child with braces goes back to school in Western North Carolina

As a leading provider of braces in Western North Carolina, we get plenty of questions from concerned parents wondering what they can do to ensure their kids take proper care of their teeth and braces during the school year, so we’ve compiled a guide. This is the ultimate breakdown for surviving the back to school season with braces.

Eat Carefully

The braces-friendly diet is crucial to keeping braces intact. Most orthodontists will go over the right and wrong foods to eat with braces when your child first gets them put on, but it’s important to revisit those lists again. To set your child up for success, consider packing their lunch to ensure they only eat foods that are braces-friendly. Cafeteria lunch options can often cause issues for kids and endanger their gear.

Any crunchy or hard foods like nuts, trail mix, carrots and chips are a no-go for patients with braces. Remind your children of this before they head back to school so they’ll stay away from snacks containing these items. The same goes for gum and candy.

Bite-sized foods are best for those with braces. When packing your child’s lunch, be sure to break apart or cut up their food into smaller portions.

Foods that Work

There are tons of foods that are fine for patients with braces to enjoy. Some highly recommended options include:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mousse
  • Pudding
  • Yoghurt
  • Soft meats and cheeses
  • Meatloaf
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Rice
  • Casserole
  • Quiche
  • Soft fruits
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Ravioli
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream

Foods to Avoid

Other foods that are not good for braces include:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Italian bread
  • Thin crust pizza
  • Whole apples
  • Hard candy
  • Pretzels
  • Meat on the bone
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Granola bars
  • Caramel
  • Gum

Remember to adhere to the above lists, but also try and keep your child’s diet healthy. A balanced diet can be very beneficial to the overall health of your mouth. An option to keep meals nutritious is to take items on the list to avoid and steam or cook them into safer, smaller, more manageable servings.

Resources for Meal Prep


There are a number of good books and resources available to assist with preparing meals for braces. These items are filled with recipe ideas to keep your child’s braces safe and secure, while also keeping their stomachs full. They include:

  • The Tender Teeth Cookbook
  • The Braces Cookbook
  • Super Healthy Kids (This website designs meal plans for you)

Bring a Care Kit

After your child has eaten their lunch packed full of braces-friendly foods, there will come a time when they must go the extra step to ensure the health of their teeth. That means brushing their teeth in the school bathroom, which isn’t exactly appealing.

With braces, and even without, teeth need to be cleaned after each meal. This is especially important for kids to understand during the school year, as they’ll be tempted to slack on their responsibilities. Make this action more enticing by packing a Braces Care Kit for them to take to school with them always.

This kit should include:

  • A toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Extra elastics
  • Dental wax
  • A small mirror

Be sure to talk with your dentist about this crucial step before going back to school. They may be able to recommend some more inconspicuous options for patients who get nervous at the idea of brushing at school.

Stay Hydrated


Have your kids hop on the trend of bringing their own bottle of water with them everywhere they go. Not only is it better for preserving the beauty of our planet, it’s also good for them to get in the habit of drinking tons of water. Water intake can rinse food from wires and brackets, keeping their teeth and mouth clean. Soda might be tasty, but it can leave behind nasty residue and cause cavities.

Protect Your Mouth

This is an important reminder for all braces patients out there. Though gym class and sports after school are very important to boost health and keep kids active, they are also a hotbed for orthodontic accidents. To truly protect their mouth, have your kids wear a mouthguard to prevent impact or injury.

Mouthguards are designed to cushion a blow and prevent breakage or lacerations of the teeth and mouth. An injury with braces can not only damage the hardware, it can seriously cut up a person’s lips. Several kinds of mouthguards are available in lots of colors, including custom-made mouthguards and boil-and-bite ones. Talk to your orthodontist about how to get a special orthodontic mouthguard to fit over both teeth and braces.

Em-Brace Safety


Safety is a huge part of any parent’s life. Young kids should always be reminded of the best practices to keep them safe, and that goes double for kids with braces. They shouldn’t go running around in or near puddles of water, and diving head first into a pool is never a good idea. Remind them to wear helmets when riding on bikes or skateboards, or any other sport that may carry the threat of a head injury.

Keeping your children safe and safeguarding the investment of their braces can be easy as long as you remember to embrace simple rules of safety. Talk to your kids often about the best ways they can take care of themselves, as well as the importance of treating their braces with respect.


Braces can be tricky, but surviving the start of the school year doesn’t have to be. Remember these tips and tricks and you’ll make life a lot easier on you and your family.

Kids can be a little self-conscious, especially when it comes to having braces. Show them how to love themselves no matter what and remind them that their dream smile is only a couple of months away!

If you have any questions regarding braces or wish to speak to one of our doctors, schedule a complimentary consultation. We are proud to offer orthodontic support and services to many people in the Asheville area.