Summer Travel Guide: Braces Edition

Summer is a time for fun getaways, exciting adventures, and lasting memories with family and friends. However, extra planning and preparation can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip if you or your child has braces. At Eastern Virginia Orthodontics, we want you to enjoy your summer vacation while keeping your orthodontic treatment on track. Our team put together a handy summer travel guide just for our patients with braces.

Schedule a Pre-Trip Check-Up

Before heading out on your summer adventure, visiting your orthodontist for a check-up is wise. Even if you’re not experiencing any issues with your braces, a pre-trip appointment can give you peace of mind. Dr. Savage and Dr. Peluso will ensure that your braces are in good condition, make necessary adjustments, and address any concerns. It’s best to schedule this appointment a week or two before your departure.

Ask your orthodontist for advice about your destination and planned activities during your visit. For example, if you’re heading to a sunny beach, they may recommend using a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from sunburn, as braces can make them more sensitive. If you’ll be swimming in a pool or ocean, ask about the best way to care for your braces afterward, as chlorine and salt water can affect the rubber bands and other components.

Pack an Orthodontic Travel Kit

Your oral hygiene routine requires a few extra tools when you have braces. Put together a portable orthodontic travel kit to stay on top of your dental care while traveling. This kit should include:

  • Toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Interdental brushes or floss threaders to clean around your braces
  • Orthodontic wax to cover any protruding wires that may cause irritation
  • Compact mirror for on-the-go oral hygiene
  • Travel-sized mouthwash for extra freshness and cavity protection
  • Extra rubber bands, in case any break or get lost
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medication, just in case

Don’t forget to pack your orthodontic travel kit in your carry-on luggage if you’re flying. This way, you’ll have everything you need to care for your braces during the flight and upon arrival at your destination.

Summer Travel Guide: Braces Edition

Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine

While relaxing your usual routines during vacation is tempting, don’t let your oral hygiene habits slide. Consistent brushing and flossing are even more crucial when you have braces, as food particles can easily get trapped in the brackets and wires. Aim to brush your teeth after every meal, or at least twice daily, and floss once daily.

Pack a small, portable toothbrush and toothpaste in your day bag if you will be out and about for extended periods. After meals or snacks, step away to a restroom to quickly brush your teeth. If brushing isn’t possible, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to dislodge any food debris.

When you’re exhausted after a long day of vacation fun, it’s easy to skip your nightly oral hygiene routine. However, neglecting to clean your teeth and braces before bed allows plaque and bacteria to accumulate overnight, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing are non-negotiable parts of your bedtime routine, no matter how tired you are.

Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink

One of the best parts of traveling is trying new foods and indulging in delicious treats. While you should definitely enjoy the local cuisine, remember that certain foods can damage your braces. Avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods like popcorn, nuts, caramel, and gummy candies. These can break brackets, bend wires, or get stuck in your braces, leading to discomfort and potentially prolonging your treatment.

When dining out, opt for braces-friendly foods that are soft, easy to bite, and not overly sugary or acidic. Good choices include pasta, soft-cooked vegetables, lean meats, yogurt, and soft fruits like bananas and berries. If you do indulge in sugary or acidic foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterward to minimize their impact on your teeth and braces.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re spending time outdoors in the heat. Not only does water help keep your body cool and functional, but it also promotes saliva production, which helps neutralize acid and wash away food particles. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to make staying hydrated easy and eco-friendly.

Know What to Do in Case of an Orthodontic Emergency

Despite your best efforts, orthodontic emergencies can sometimes happen, especially when you’re far from home. Familiarize yourself with potential issues and how to handle them until you can see an orthodontist:

Loose or broken brackets: Apply orthodontic wax to prevent irritation, and call your orthodontist for guidance.

Poking wires: Use a clean pencil eraser or a Q-tip to gently push the wire back into place, then cover it with orthodontic wax. If the wire is still bothersome, you can carefully clip it with nail clippers that have been disinfected in alcohol.

Lost or broken elastic bands: Replace the band with one from your travel kit. If you run out of bands, contact your orthodontist for advice.

Mouth sores or irritation: Rinse with a saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of warm water) to soothe discomfort and promote healing.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Savage or Dr. Peluso if you experience any issues with your braces while traveling. At Eastern Virginia Orthodontics, we’re here to support our patients, even when they’re miles away from home. Keep our contact information handy, and reach out if you need guidance or assistance.

Summer Travel Guide: Braces Edition

Enjoy Your Summer Adventure

With a bit of extra planning and care, traveling with braces can be a breeze. By scheduling a pre-trip check-up, packing an orthodontic travel kit for the summer, maintaining your oral hygiene routine, making smart food choices, and knowing how to handle potential emergencies, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic summer vacation.

At Eastern Virginia Orthodontics, we want our patients to enjoy their summer adventures to the fullest while keeping their smiles healthy and their orthodontic treatment on track. If you have any questions or concerns about traveling with braces, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team. Dr. Peluso and Dr. Savage are here to help you navigate your orthodontic journey, no matter where your travels may take you.