Eating with Braces
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s worthwhile for you to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire orthodontic treatment. Bending and loosening braces can extend the time you have to wear them.
Don’t worry, you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! 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
- ICE – A thousand times NO. It will totally destroy your braces.
- PIZZA CRUST – The hard crust bends wires.
- HARD PRETZELS – Bends wires, loosen bands, knocks off brackets.
- DORITOS, TACOS, CHEETOS, FRITOS, AND THE LIKE – These will form a hard ball and break your braces.
- CARAMEL CANDY, BUBBLE GUM, FUN FRUIT, FRUIT ROLL UPS – Sticky goo that pulls off wires and feeds bacteria in your mouth.
- HARD ROLLS, BAGELS
- BONES – Bends the wire and knocks off brackets
- BEEF JERKY, SLIM JIMS – Tough as nails
- SUCKERS – You might weaken and bite.
- NUTS – No nuts of any kind
- PENS, PENCILS – Favorite exam time food, breaks everything
- POPCORN – The little shells get between the gum and bands; hurts like crazy!!
- RAW CARROTS, APPLES – Hard as rocks. Slice thin or avoid.
- CORN ON THE COB – Slice corn off the cob.
- CEREALS – Any hard cereals (e.g., Cheerios, or nut-like cereals); flake cereals such as Rice Krispies are preferred.
- BREATH MINTS or SOUR CANDIES – Any breath mints with sugar, especially Altoids, Peppermints, THESE ALSO STAIN TEETH. If you need something for your breath, use Listerine Pocket Paks.
- SOFT DRINKS – Sugar free only; AVOID: apple, cranberry, grape juices, lemonade, Powerade, and Gatorade.
- STRAW TOOTHPICKS, GUITAR PICKS – No chewing on straws, toothpicks, and the like!!
Eating these foods will bend or loosen the braces. Loosened bands, broken wires, and detached brackets lead to a longer treatment time.
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
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 we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes, but do not swallow the salt water.
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will 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 or a wet cotton ball over it to relieve the pain.
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 you wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances consistenly as prescribed by Dr. Stroop.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, set, and match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your Dr. Stroop or his staff 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 and appliance 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.