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. You'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: ice, chips, popcorn kernels
  • Sticky foods: caramels, bubble gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots; cut them into bite size pieces or cook them.
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol or any other acetaminophen pain reliever (a new study has shown that aspirin and ibuprofen can inhibit tooth movement and lengthen treatment time!). The lips, cheeks and tongue may be irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Any irritated areas where braces rub on tissue can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt with water in the sports bottle we will provide, and rinse your mouth vigorously. You can also put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!

TIP---Each time your braces are adjusted (or when first placed) make it a point to chew normally - don't "baby" your teeth. You'll find your teeth are not sore for as long with normal chewing.

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.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the 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, or may even develop decalcification (permanent scars on your teeth). Brushing thoroughly, 3-4 times per day, and massaging the gums to avoid puffy tissue is necessary to avoid decalcification of enamel surfaces. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a Periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


If you play sports, it's important that you wear a protective mouth guard. They are inexpensive and are easy to fit at home. However, if you do need our assistance, bring your mouth guard to your appointment and we will fit it for you. Just let us know ahead of time! In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

Loose Wire or Band

Bands, brackets and wires come loose occasionally. It is important to strictly follow the food chart that we provide you. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (like the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire so it is not poking you. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax in the area to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Emergency Care (Orthodontics)

As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe pain, a broken bracket, loose band, broken wire or something sticking out that you can't take care of. It's important to know the names of the parts of your appliances. It will help, when you phone the office, to be able to identify what part is broken or out of place, so we can prepare to repair it in a timely fashion.

True Dental Emergency

If you've had an accident and one or more teeth are knocked out of your mouth-place the teeth in milk (or under your tongue if the patient would be aware not to swallow the tooth) and see your dentist within one hour if possible. These teeth can often be saved.

If you've had an injury and teeth are loosened but not knocked out, and you happen to be a patient who wears a retainer (which is not damaged during the accident) placing the retainer back into the mouth can reposition teeth to their original position.