Life with Braces

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Life with Braces

Eating with Braces

After you first get your braces, and after an adjustment, you will want to stick to a softer diet for the first few days. This will make your adjustment period more comfortable. Eat things like soups and pastas. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. You'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: chips, Cheetos, pretzels
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum, taffy, Skittles, Starburst, etc.
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candy, chewing on ice
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots (cut them into small pieces)
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Follow the dosing instructions on the package and ask your orthodontist if you have any questions. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. Using Orabase on bothered areas will help relieve the soreness and allow the area to heal.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.

Loose Wire or Band

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally and is usually related to eating foods that arenít allowed with braces. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the arch wire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently follows the orthodontist's instructions. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces. This will ensure healthy teeth and gums during and after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist as recommended by their general dentist during orthodontic treatment. Clean teeth move more predictably, and accumulations of plaque and food can result in tooth discoloration, decay, gum disease, and increased orthodontic treatment time, often yielding less than ideal results.

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