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Life With Braces

braces diagram

Orthodontic Home Care Instructions

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat. For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. For as long as you wear braces, you’ll need to protect your braces when you eat.

Foods to Avoid

• Ice (even if you’re careful)
• Jolly Ranchers, snickers and other hard candies
• Gum of any kind
• Hard chips like Doritos
• Carrots, apples, pears, etc. should be cut into small pieces
• Popcorn
• Meat should not be chewed off the bone – such as chicken wings and ribs
• Corn on the cob
• Pizza crust, bagels, and French bread should be broken into bite-sized pieces
• Pens, pencils, and fingernails should not be bitten as they will damage your braces

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. If the tenderness is severe, take something that you would normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen up and become accustom to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

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.


If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and braces immediately. If teeth are loosened or your braces are damaged, phone our office immediately for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.



It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so your teeth and
gums are healthy 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 stay current with their periodontal therapy during orthodontic treatment.

Cleaning All Three Tooth Surfaces

The first thing to consider when cleaning your teeth is that there are three surfaces of each tooth that
need to be brushed. When brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, try to make a 45-degree angle
toward the gum line between the head of your toothbrush and the tooth itself. It is especially important
to make sure the area between the brace and the gum stays clean. Try to brush three teeth at a time.
Make sure these teeth are completely free of food and plaque before moving to the next area. Once
you’re done with the outsides of the top and bottom teeth you can move to the inside. When brushing
the inside surfaces of your teeth, try to maintain the 45-degree angle towards the gum line as you did
with the outside surfaces. Again, try to brush three teeth at a time and make sure that they are clean
before moving on. Cleaning the chewing surfaces of your teeth is straightforward. Remember to brush
three teeth at a time prior to moving on to the next ones.


Flossing with braces takes a few minutes to master, but is essential while you are wearing braces. There
are 2 ways to floss.
• Using a floss called Superfloss
• Using regular floss with a floss threader
Your clinician will show you how!

What if I Have an Emergency?

If you have an emergency, such as a broken bracket, loose or poking wire, or something else that is
causing you discomfort, please call our office. We care about our patients and their comfort during
treatment with us, and will try to correct any problem you might have as quickly as possible.

Rubber Bands and Other Appliances

To successfully complete your treatment plan, you’ll need to work in partnership with our office. Your
teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if you consistently wear the rubber
bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. We look forward to working with you to complete
your orthodontic treatment plan.

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