Caring for Braces

When you have braces, it is important to take good care of your teeth. There are certain foods that you need to avoid and you have to take extra steps to keep your teeth clean during treatment. While this may be a sacrifice, remember that in a very short time the braces will come off and you’ll have straight, beautiful teeth. Our tips will help you get used to your new braces in no time!

There will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the newly placed brackets, which may last for a few days to a week. Most patients experience some discomfort the first four days to a week after their braces, expanders, and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment, but each person will gradually adapt to the discomfort associated with orthodontic tooth movement.

Care & Maintenance: A Must During Treatment

How to Brush with Braces

  • Brush thoroughly after each meal or snack. If you cannot brush right away after a meal, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, round-bristle toothbrush.
  • Braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear.
  • Brush around all the parts of your braces and all surfaces of your teeth.
  • You’re doing a good job if your braces look clean and shiny, and you are able to see the edges of the brackets clearly. Fuzzy-looking or dull metal indicates poor brushing.

How to Floss with Braces

  • Floss every night before you go to bed.
  • Use a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath the wires easily.

Eating With Braces

There are some foods you have to avoid when you have braces. It may be difficult to give up popcorn, gum or potato chips while you wear braces, but it is necessary. The great news is that your braces will be off in a shorter time than you may think, then you can get back to enjoying these treats once again.

Foods you can enjoy with braces:

  • Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks, yogurts, cottage cheese, eggs
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry tender meats, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
  • Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
  • Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, and soft cookies. But remember to always limit your sugar intake!

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French breads
  • Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
  • Hard food – nuts, hard candies
  • Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies including lollipops, thick pretzels
  • Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots, ribs and chicken wings

Habits to avoid with braces:

  • Chewing on objects such as pens and ice cubes
  • Nail-biting
  • Smoking

Tips for Athletes & Musicians

The good news for athletes is that you can continue to play sports and physical activities even while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Wearing a mouth guard at all times to protect your teeth and the condition of your orthodontic appliances is highly recommended. If you have any questions about the right mouth guards that will fit over your appliance, feel free to ask Dr. Jones, Dr. Dearing or one of our staff directly.

For musicians, while some minor adjustments may be needed for you to keep playing your instrument, braces should not keep you from making beautiful music. It is normal, however, to have some difficulty with proper lip position and sores can develop, too, but liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen. We will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you have if you play a musical instrument.