Life With Braces

First Day

You can eat immediately after placement of your braces. However, we recommend you start with foods that are soft and easy to chew.

Initially, you will experience mild to moderate discomfort from your braces. This soreness is normal and can last anywhere from 2 to 5 days. This is due to movement of the teeth and is expected from time to time throughout treatment. We recommend using a non-prescription pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). As you become accustomed to your braces, the discomfort will subside.

It is also not uncommon for your lips and cheeks to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. You may find it helpful to place a small piece of wax on any brackets causing irritation. Warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) may also help alleviate your discomfort by soothing and cleansing the tissues. Wax will be provided in your orthodontic care kit when you begin treatment and is always available in the office.


There are many different types of foods that you can eat. However, there are certain foods you should avoid so that you don’t break your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Broken appliances lead to more appointments and increased treatment time (wearing your braces longer than necessary). Therefore, please follow these dietary guidelines. It is impossible to name every food that could possibly break your braces so try to avoid hard and sticky foods. Some examples are:

Foods to Avoid

  • Ice
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Hard candy
  • Chewy candy (taffy, bubble gum)
  • Hard pretzels
  • Whole nuts
  • Frozen candy bars

Foods to Cut into Small Pieces

  • Raw fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, carrots)
  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard breads
  • Meat on the bone
  • Corn on the cob

Foods to Limit (high sugar foods promoting decalcification or “white spots”)

  • Soft drinks
  • Sugary cereals
  • Soft candy
  • Juice and sports drinks

Foods to Enjoy

  • Dairy – cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt
  • Breads – pancakes, muffins, tortillas, waffles
  • Grains – oatmeal, pasta, quinoa, rice
  • Meats/poultry – ground meat, lunch meat, chicken
  • Seafood – fish, shellfish, tuna
  • Vegetables – cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes
  • Fruits – applesauce, bananas, watermelon
  • Treats (in moderation) – cake, ice cream, pudding

Oral Hygiene

You should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. The most important times to brush your teeth are after breakfast and before bedtime. We will show you how to brush properly while wearing braces and how to floss between your teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach. When the braces are removed we want you to have a bright and beautiful smile.

Fluoride Rinse

After thorough brushing at bedtime, use a fluoride rinse to help prevent decalcification of the teeth. You can use any over-the-counter product (ACT, FluoriGard, Listerine, Phos-Flur, etc.) as long as it contains fluoride.

Periodic Dental Care

While you are undergoing orthodontic treatment it is very important that you continue to see your family dentist on a regular basis to maintain proper oral health.

Contact Sports

If you play a contact sport (basketball, boxing, football, karate, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, etc.) it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard designed for people with braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury and can also help prevent concussions by absorbing the forces of impact. We have these mouthguards in the office for your convenience and protection.


Successful orthodontic treatment requires a cooperative effort between the orthodontist, parents, and patients. Good cooperation with appointments, oral hygiene, dietary guidelines, and any other instructions will lead to better results and shorter treatment times.