Braces are a big change and exciting! Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

Don’t worry: Adjusting to eating with braces occurs quickly! You'll do great!!!

Before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, however, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods to avoid with braces

  • Chewy foods — bagels, gummy bears, beef jerky
  • Crunchy foods — thick tortilla chips, croutons
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, gummy bears
  • Hard foods — ice, nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat with braces

  • 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
  • GUM! Small sugar free pieces of gum have been shown to decrease tooth discomfort from braces, facilitate movement of teeth, and to improve oral hygiene. 

Remember to change the texture of foods as needed! Examples are cutting apples into slivers, carrots into thin carrot sticks and beef jerky into small thin strips. 

Soreness Caused by 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 this will improve in 1-3 days. 

To relieve tooth discomfort, Advil (ibuprofen) is a big help, and it is safe to take for a few days. If additional help is needed with soreness, patients can alternate Advil with Tylenol, taking one or the other every 6-8 hours. Please follow the dosage directions carefully for each medication.

Some patients may develop sores or irritation of the lips, cheeks, or tongue in the first 1-3 weeks with braces. Saltwater rinses warm or cold are very helpful if this occurs. A buffered saltwater solution (like tears) can be made with one 16 oz of water, 1 tablespoon of salt, and one tablespoon of baking soda. Rinse with this solution for one minute and then spit it out. Applying orthodontic wax to the braces in the area of tissue irritation will also help. Patients can use the wax given at their initial appointment, and if more is needed it can be obtained from our office or the drug store. 

If the above sympoms worsen or don't improve, please don't hesitate to contact our office for additional assistance. 

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth slightly to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will re-tighten and 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 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 fix the loose wire temporarily by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire carefully and gently back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax, gum, or a wet cotton ball over it to pad the area until we can help you. 

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 wires and braces are undamaged, and you wear rubber bands, or other appliances consistently as prescribed by Dr. Gibson.

Playing Sports with Braces

Game, set, match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you play sports, we recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Please use a mouthguard that is made for braces. Our office also makes custom mouthguards for athletes with and without braces which will fit more comfortably and precisely than over the counter mouthguards. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to check your mouth, teeth and braces immediately for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.