Sooner or later, every person with braces finds themselves in a tricky situation: You’re out to dinner with friends, or you just decided to enjoy a quick snack in the car on your way to an event, and a quick glance in the mirror shows you that, oh no, those braces are in need of some brushing, stat!

I totally understand feeling shy about brushing in public, but sometimes there’s just no way around it. As it turns out, it’s not a big deal at all! Here are my best tips for brushing while out and about:

When available, I often try to duck into one of the “family” restrooms. These offer much more privacy because they are all-in-one bathrooms, with a single stall and sink in one room

If there isn’t a family or private restroom available, locate a sink at the far end of the bathroom, which often offers the most privacy

Before you start brushing, grab a few paper towels or tissues so you can quickly and discreetly wipe the sink, mirror and/or counter as you go. If you can find one, it’s a good idea to carry a disposable cup with you into the bathroom to make rinsing easier
Carry a proxabrush with you at all times. I find them much easier to use in public than floss, and they’ll let you quickly and inconspicuously remove much of the food in your front braces before you start brushing!
Push the brush bristles down through your brackets, then up, on both the bottom and top. This will quickly help dislodge most of the remaining food
What is my biggest tip? Relax! I have found that most people are very understanding about my needs now that I have braces. Many people have “been there” before, and the reminiscing can lead to fun conversations. Not