Braces 101

Our team will review how best to take care of your braces to achieve your best results but included below is all the information for your convenience. 

Foods to avoid:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Brushing with braces

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes morning and night and after every meal with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. 
  • You can also use a powered toothbrush to increase your brushing effectiveness. 
  • Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. 
  • Brush your teeth’s chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions. 
  • Pay close attention to the areas around your brackets or other appliances.

brushing with braces

Flossing with Braces

Flossing after every meal will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which will also help keep your treatment time on track. 

  • Use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. 
  • Wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands, leaving a few inches of taut floss between them. 
  • Gently slide the floss between each set of teeth using a back and forth motion.
  •  Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles. 
  • Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth.

In addition to following proper brushing technique, it’s essential that during your treatment you visit your family dentist twice a year for professional cleanings. These cleanings will remove any plaque buildup that has not been caught by regular brushing and help to prevent cavity formation.

flossing with braces

Soreness caused from braces and appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some 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 to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose wires and bands

The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, 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.

Take 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 to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.