Life with Braces


During your orthodontic treatment it is important for you to know how to take care of your braces. Below are instructions for properly caring for your braces and helps ensure you get the best results possible.

Eating with Braces

As soon as you get your braces put on, you will want to stick to soft foods. Definitely avoid hard breads and raw vegetables, like carrots. As teeth start to move, your teeth are likely to be a little tender, and soft foods will make things feel like normal more quickly. As long as you’re wearing braces, you’ll need to protect them while you eat.

Foods to avoid:

    • Chewy foods: jerky, bagels, rice crispy treats
    • Crunchy foods: popcorn, hard taco shells, chips
    • Foods that require biting into: apples, corn on the cob, carrots
    • Hard foods: hard candy, ice, nuts
    • Sticky foods: caramels, Starbursts, bubble gum

* If you want to eat foods you would ordinarily bite into, you still can! Just cut the food into pieces first, and place it in the back of your mouth. So cut the corn off the cob, and cut carrots and apples into small pieces rather than biting off a mouthful! Biting normally into hard foods like these is a sure way to damage your braces.

Foods you can eat:

  • Dairy: yogurt, soft cheese, shakes, ice-cream
  • Breads: pancakes, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, soft tortillas
  • Grains: rice, pasta
  • Meats/poultry: lunch meats, soft cooked chicken
  • Seafood: salmon, tuna, crab cakes
  • Vegetables: mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables
  • Fruits: bananas, canned peaches, grapes, applesauce
  • Treats: Jell-O, soft cake, Reeses peanut butter cups

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel some general soreness in your mouth. It is normal for your teeth to be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. To ease the discomfort, you may rinse your mouth with a warm salt water mouth rinse. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is more uncomfortable, take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen), or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

You should expect that your lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they become accustomed to your new braces. The warm salt water rinses help with this also. Orthodontic wax can be placed on any rough surfaces until your mouth has gotten used to the new braces.

Wax should also be used if there are any poking wires, or if any brackets come loose and become irritating. Wax is an easy fix for nearly every type of sore your braces may cause. Remember to keep in mind that as your mouth becomes more used to the braces, your reliance on wax will reduce greatly. We will provide you with wax when you get your braces on to lessen the tenderness. If you need some more wax, please let us know!

Loose teeth:

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Compliance with treatment:

To achieve the best result, it is very important that you do your part to successfully transform your smile. Coming in for regularly-scheduled adjustments and following instructions carefully help ensure the desired outcome. Making sure to wear rubber bands and appliances as directed is the key to achieving a sensational smile. Avoid delays in treatment by staying away from foods that will damage your braces and appliances.

Keeping teeth clean:

It is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces!! This is one of the only ways to ensure that the teeth and gums will be healthy after your orthodontic treatment is complete. Try to brush at least three times per day, and take your time! We recommend that our patients rinse nightly with ACT Rinse or similar special fluoride rinses that add strength and hardness to the teeth while they are in braces. Regular and frequent visits to the dentist are extremely important during orthodontic treatment. We recommend that each patient see his or her pediatric or family dentist at least once every six months, or more frequently under certain circumstances.

Loose Wires and Bands:

If the wires and bands on your braces come loose, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Taking care of your Appliances:

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

Playing sports with braces:

You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.