Certified Specialist in Orthodontics

Life with Braces

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? For the first day or two, stick to soft, easy to chew foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to enjoy most foods, but you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: whole bagels, hard/chewy granola bars, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, kettle chips, hard tortillas
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum, gummy bears
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy, ice
  • Foods you have to bite into & may need to be modified: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged and broken braces will cause your treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressure for two to seven days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take ibuprofen if possible, as it has an anti-inflammatory action. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!

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 within the bone. The teeth will again become firmly fixed in their newly corrected positions.

Loose Wire or Band

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose, this happens occasionally. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax on the wire 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.

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. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

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