All About Braces

Eating with Braces

There are very few foods you cannot eat while you have braces. We do ask you not to eat hard and sticky foods such as caramel, taffy, gummy bears, suckers, jolly ranchers, jerky or popcorn. You may chew gum as long as it is sugarless and not big, bulky bubblegum. When you eat foods like apples, pizza, corn on the cob, carrots and celery, etc., we ask that you cut those foods up into small pieces and then chew them on your back teeth. The corn will have to be cut off the cob.

Bad Habits to Avoid

Chewing on hard things (like ice, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces may cause treatment to take longer.

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy during 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 may also need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the video below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Fluoride Rinses or Gels

We recommend that you rinse once a day with Phos-Flur fluoride rinse. This can be purchased at our office or a pharmacy. We want you to use this rinse once a day, preferably at night before you go to bed.

Brush your teeth real well, then take a teaspoon of fluoride rinse and swish it around in your mouth for about a minute. Spit the rinse out and do not swallow it. If your dentist has given you a fluoride gel to use, that would be acceptable to use in place of the rinse.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 4 – 5 days. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, should help if you experience discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Eating soft foods for the first couple days also helps. Some suggestions include jello, soups, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. Everyone responds differently, so for one person it might be minor discomfort, yet to another the teeth may be very sore. Periodically throughout treatment, you may experience sore teeth when a new archwire has been placed in the mouth. However, this soreness lasts approximately 1-2 days.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new, corrected positions after treatment is completed.


If Dr. Bob should assign you a headgear to wear, be very faithful at getting 12 hours a day with it. You may wear it when you are at home and when you sleep at night. We do not ask our patients to wear the headgear in public. But, the more hours you wear the headgear, the faster you can move your teeth.

Wearing a headgear more than 12 hours a day may result in finishing your orthodontic treatment faster. If you wear your headgear less than 12 hours a day, you may slow down treatment. Not every patient has a headgear; it just depends on the extra forces we need to help move your teeth.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, 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 or other appliances as prescribed. Like a headgear, elastics provide extra forces to help move your teeth. Be very faithful at wearing your rubber bands so you do not prolong your treatment time.

Loose Wire, Bracket or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire, bracket or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. Our Emergency Care section may help answer questions you may have regarding what to do in these type of situations and help you until you can get in to see us. Please call our office as soon as possible for an appointment so we can check and repair the problem.


If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouth guard is provided for playing contact sports.