Life with Braces

Discomfort | Eating with Braces | Playing Sports and Instruments
Loose Wires, Bands or Brackets | Proper Oral Hygiene

Congratulations! You just got your braces! Now what?

Here is some helpful information to help you start achieving your beautiful new smile!


During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. To ease the soreness, we recommend a warm saltwater mouthwash, dissolving one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws. You may also take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. If your lips and cheeks become irritated while you become accustomed to your braces, you can put wax on the area of your braces that is causing the irritation.

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Eating with Braces

For the first couple of days after your braces have been placed, it is best for you to eat soft foods. Avoid any foods such as certain meats, breads and vegetables that are tough, hard or raw. It is important to keep in mind that you need to protect your braces and orthodontic appliances when you are selecting foods to eat.

Foods to Avoid During Orthodontic Treatment

  • Hard foods such as pizza crust, hard rolls, pretzels bagels, nuts, chips, and raw carrots can break, damage or knock off your wires and brackets.
  • Foods such as Doritos and tacos can form a hard ball on your braces, making it hard to remove.
  • Tough meats such as Beef Jerky and Slim Jims can loosen your wires and brackets.
  • Sticky foods such as gum, licorice, Sugar Daddies, Tootsie Rolls, caramels, jelly beans and Starburst can pull off the brackets as well get caught between the brackets and wires causing a gooey mess as well as tooth decay.
  • Chewing on pens and pencils as well as nail biting should be avoided because of the damage they cause.
  • Chewing ice is one of the easiest ways to damage your braces – so avoid it!

Foods You CAN Eat During Orthodontic Treatment

Don’t get discouraged! While it seems like a long list of foods you can’t eat with braces, there is an equally long list of foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy - pudding, soft cheeses
  • Breads – sliced lunch bread, soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts, biscuits
  • Grains – noodles, pasta, soft-cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry - soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood - fish w/o bones, tuna, salmon, crab and crab cakes
  • Vegetables - mashed potatoes, peas, yams, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats - ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, smoothies, Jell-O, cake
  • Other – eggs, hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, beans and much more!

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Playing Sports and Instruments

Good news! You will still be able to play sports or play your favorite instrument while wearing braces. If you play sports, we recommend wearing a mouth guard to protect your braces and teeth. Some musical instruments may seem a little difficult to play at first with your braces on, but you will become accustomed with practice.

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Loose Wires, Bands, or Brackets

Having a wire or band become loose happens occasionally. If the wire is causing irritation, try bending the wire under the archwire with a blunt object such as the eraser end of a pencil or a spoon. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of wet cotton or small amount of wax. If a bracket becomes loose, it may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. Please call our office for an appointment to have your braces checked and repaired. If any part of your braces comes off, please bring it with you to your appointment.

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Proper Oral Hygiene


One critical aspect of your orthodontic treatment is proper oral hygiene. While it is harder to brush and floss with braces, it is important because food particles can easily accumulate in your braces, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. We have found those who do not follow a thorough daily oral hygiene regimen require more visits to their dentist for teeth cleanings. We recommend that anyone going through orthodontic treatment who also has issues with gum disease should see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

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