Braces Care

Oral Hygiene

The most important rule when in treatment with braces is good oral hygiene! Proper brushing twice daily to eliminate any food debris is critical. If food debris is left on the surface of teeth for an extended period of time it will begin to deteriorate the surface of the tooth causing white spots called decalcifications. In addition to brushing normally (side to side, up and down, small circles) with braces you now have one additional step, brushing above your upper brackets and below your lower brackets. Do this by angling your toothbrush to brush each surface as if you were “dusting a shelf”. It is very common for food to be left in these areas and cause irritation of the gums. If you notice gum swelling, puffiness or bleeding while brushing it is more than likely due to poor oral hygiene around the gum line. The only way to remedy this is to brush the areas well daily and keep the area clean of debris. 

We have included interproximal brushes in your Care Kit to help you clean under your wires and keep your teeth healthy while in treatment. These are also available at Walgreens or CVS should you need more. Also in your Care Kit you have a sample of Platypus Flossers. These are special floss picks with one flat side that will fit under your wire and make flossing with braces easy! These are available on Amazon. 

Foods to avoid with braces:

Chewy foods — licorice, gummy bears

Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, granola bars

Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum

Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, ice, lollipops 

Foods to eat with caution:

*Be sure to break or cut these and similar foods into smaller pieces and chew on back teeth. Avoid biting and tearing with your front teeth.*

Bagels, pizza, hard bread, steak, and raw fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers

Foods to eat after getting braces or adjustments:

Anything soft or foods you do not have to chew such as: soup, smoothies, mashed potatoes, noodles/pasta, scrambled eggs, yogurt, soft cheeses, ice cream, etc.


*Do not chew on these (or similar) items: pens, pencils, fingernails, sweatshirt strings, etc.*


Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances

When you first get your braces expect to feel sore and achy for the first 2-3 days. 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 (do not swallow the saltwater). If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil. Stick with a soft diet the first few days and refer to our above list of foods.

Irritation of Lips and Cheeks

It is not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We have included Orthodontic Wax in your Care Kit to use on any bracket or wire that may be rubbing or causing irritation. To use the orthodontic wax you will need to dry off the bracket or wire and roll a small pea sized piece of wax into a ball and press it onto the bracket or wire. This will smooth out the surface to provide relief. We have also included Brace Relief (white tube) in your Care Kit that you can apply to any cut or sore that may occur due to rubbing brackets or long wires. Apply the gel directly to the cut or sore with a cotton swab to temporarily numb the area and provide relief. 

Broken Brackets/Poking Wires

If you notice a broken bracket, don’t panic! This may happen and it is okay! We want to try to limit any breakage as much as we can as it can lengthen your treatment in braces. However, if you do notice a bracket has come free of the tooth and is sliding back and forth on your wire as long as it is not causing any pain or discomfort for the patient you can leave it until your next appointment. If a back bracket has broken off and your wire is poking you can try to trim it at home or apply orthodontic wax. If all else fails please call us to schedule an emergency visit so we can remedy the discomfort. You can also visit the "Braces Emergencies" page on our website to view our video on how to handle these situations at home.

Playing Sports with Braces

Game, Set, 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 doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance 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 saltwater.


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Funt Orthodontics