Congratulations on starting the journey to your best smile! If today is your first day of life with braces, your teeth may feel a little sore. Slight discomfort is completely normal and expected. Any soreness should be gone in just a few days, so hang in there! Eating can be uncomfortable at first, so you may want to stick to soft foods and smoothies for the first couple days. Now that you have your new hardware, life with braces will look slightly different than your normal routine. You will form new habits- like swapping out some of your favorite foods and spending a little extra time cleaning your teeth. In the end, it will all be worth it! Our Bailey Orthodontics team is here for you and we have put together a list of tips to help you take care of your braces during your smile journey!
Eating with Braces
Life with braces doesn’t have to significantly impact your lifestyle. However, it is very important to take extra care of your braces during your entire orthodontic treatment. Your braces have brackets, bands and wires that are all prone to damage from certain foods and habits. During your treatment you should avoid sticky, chewy, hard and crunchy foods. You should also avoid biting your nails, chewing on non-food items like pens and biting down on foods with your front teeth (no more biting down into an apple or that juicy corn on the cob- sorry!). Luckily, there are still plenty of friendly foods you can eat that won’t damage your braces! Try swapping bubble gum for sugar free gum, swap your hard taco shell for a soft tortilla, your apple for apple slices and hard candies for melt-in-your mouth chocolate. We know it feels like a lot at first, but you will get used to your new food choices in no time!
Here are some examples of foods to avoid during your orthodontic treatment:
- Sticky Foods: tootsie rolls, laffy taffy, gummy bears, caramels, sugar gum, sticky candy bars, suckers and fudge
- Hard Foods: jolly ranchers, nuts, popcorn kernels, ice and mints
- Chewy Foods: hard bread or bags, beef jerky and crispy pizza crust
- Crunchy Foods: crunchy granola bars, tortilla chips, hard taco shells, hard crackers, hard cookies
- Foods Requiring Biting Into: raw carrots and veggies, apples, corn on the cob, and tough meat (you can still eat these foods, just be sure to cut them into small bite size pieces and carefully chew them with your back teeth)
- Habits to Avoid: nail biting, pen and pencil chewing, toothpick use and straw or plastic chewing
Swipe to see easy swaps you can make for more braces-friendly foods
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Good dental hygiene is crucial when you have braces. Your new hardware creates even more nooks and crannies for food to get trapped in! Leftover food, bacteria and plaque can build up around your brackets and leave you with stains, cavities and bad breath- which could detract from your new beautiful smile! Getting your new braces is also a great time to upgrade to an electric toothbrush with a little more cleaning power. Brushing your teeth for two full minutes, twice per day is the goal. Listening to a two minute song while you brush can help you keep track of how long you need to clean for. Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but if you aren’t near a toothbrush swishing with water to remove stuck food is a good alternative. Flossing can be a little tricky to get used to with your new braces and wires. Our clinicians will show you how to floss your teeth at your first appointment and get you set up with your flossing options during your treatment.
Common Discomfort from Braces
As your teeth move during your orthodontic treatment you will probably notice some tenderness and discomfort for a few days after your braces are placed and after adjustment appointments. This is normal and shows that your braces are working and moving your teeth! Your teeth may even feel a little loose or wiggly during your treatment. Some teeth, usually in the front of the mouth, may be tender due to pressure, and may hurt a little more than the rest of the teeth. Our orthodontists recommend over the counter pain reliever and soft foods for a few days after your appointments. Icing the area that is sore can also help reduce pain and speed up your recovery time.
Another common concern we hear from patients is that the braces feel like they stick out at first. It is common for your lips, cheeks and tongue to feel irritated during the first few weeks. This will get better with time as you get used to talking and eating with your braces. If your braces are rubbing your cheeks or gums you can use orthodontic wax to cover the brackets that are causing irritation. If you develop mouth sores a warm salt-water rinse can help treat them and relieve some discomfort.
Bailey Orthodontics recommends wearing a mouth guard while playing sports to avoid potential injury and reduce discomfort during contact sports. This will also help protect your teeth and your braces.
Orthodontic Problems and Emergencies
Visit our page to learn more about common orthodontic problems and ways to treat them at home. In the event of an orthodontic emergency call our office anytime to be connected to our on-call staff member who can help resolve your discomfort.
Click Here for Orthodontic Emergency Information