Anyone who has had braces on their teeth knows their own specific kind of pain.
In my youth, I had braces twice — wear those retainers, kids. And I remember going through lots of lip balm as I got used to them, both times. Right now, my husband is in the midst of braces fun with his own set.
Among other discomforts, when you have braces you can go through a lot of lip balm. Amy Buchler, a Modesto orthodontist, noticed this in her patients and wanted to make it better. Some lip balms contain chemicals and some can actually dry out your lips if used too much.
A chemistry major in college, Buchler wanted to come up with an all-natural option for her patients.
“Beeswax was the perfect main ingredient as it is a naturally produced edible wax,” she said in an email. “I wanted to avoid SPF since some SPFs, although effective at blocking UV rays, have been recently shown to mimic estrogen in the body. This is particularly concerning with my patient base being almost all adolescents.”
After much testing, Buchler came up with Brace Balm. “It contains no synthetics, petroleum, or parabens,” she said. “It harms no critters along the way and is 100 percent gluten-free.”
She launched the product last month at an annual meeting of orthodontic professionals.
But Brace Balm isn’t designed to only help those with braces. It’s going to help people who need them, too. Ten percent of the profits will go to Smiles Change Lives, a national orthodontic charity that helps families who can’t afford them. The remainder of the proceeds will go toward “local underprivileged children who were either denied or don’t qualify under the Medi-Cal program,” Buchler said.
Medi-Cal only covers orthodontic work that is considered medically necessary. That leaves a lot of patients out, and with orthodontia so expensive, trying to pay out-of-pocket can be an insurmountable challenge.
“It’s not just aesthetics,” Buchler said. “It goes to (patients’) self-esteem.”
Brace Balm didn’t start out with such lofty intentions, however. Buchler said she really just wanted a product for her patients. “As the popularity grew, I saw an opportunity to help others,” she said.
So far, the response has been “overwhelming.” Many orthodontists have picked up Brace Balm to carry in their offices.
“I think everyone wants to help where they can,” Buchler said.
Brace Balm is available online at www.bracebalm.com. You also can stop by Buchler’s office to buy it or pick up a sample to try for free.
Buchler Orthodontics is located at 1236 Floyd Ave., Suite C. Modesto. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.