You just got braces- congratulations!
You are on your way to a bright new smile. You probably have some questions. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
How Do I Eat with Braces?
You eat the same way you always have. The bigger questions are what can or can’t you eat with braces. The better you take care of your new appliances, the sooner you will be able to eat all the foods you love!
Foods to AVOID:
- Anything you need to bite into: whole apples, corn on the cob, raw carrots, hamburgers, chicken wings and drumsticks
- Hard Foods: ice, hard candies, nuts, pizza crust, bagels. Eating foods like this can break, damage, or knock off your wires and brackets.
- Crunchy Foods: chips, tacos, popcorn. These can form a hard ball around your wires making it difficult to clean- leading to bad breath and cavities.
- Tough Meats: steak, jerky, Slim Jims. These can loosen your wires and brackets.
- Sticky Foods: gum, licorice, Starburst, caramels, jelly bellies, gummy anything. These candies can pull your brackets off.
Also, please avoid chewing on pens, pencils, or fingernails. Along with other health reasons, these behaviors can also damage your appliances.
Foods You CAN EAT:
- Dairy: pudding, soft cheeses, frozen yogurt & ice cream (without the crunchy stir-ins)
- Breads: sliced lunch bread, pancakes, soft tacos, nut-free muffins, etc.
- Meats: lunchmeat, ground beef, soft chicken, meatballs, etc.
- Seafood: tuna, crab cakes, salmon, any fish you like
- Vegetables: any cooked vegetable, mashed potatoes, beans
- Fruits: soft and cut up fruits, bananas, applesauce, oranges
- Grains: pastas, rice, breads without seeds and nuts
The number one rule is to keep your appliances safe and clean. Brushing your teeth after eating will help you avoid cavities and bad breath, as well as keep your smile attractive during the process.
Why Are My Gums Sore?
The first couple of days you will have some general tenderness in your mouth, and your teeth may feel a little sore when chewing food. This is normal and will eventually go away. You can rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash to relieve the discomfort. Dissolve 1 tsp of salt into 8 oz of warm water and swish vigorously between your teeth and gums. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever pain reliever you do for a normal headache or pain relief.
Your lips, cheeks, and tongue will also need to toughen up and get used to the surface of the braces. We will show you how to use wax on the braces to help ease the transition.
How Do I Brush My Teeth with Braces
It is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces. Besides keeping your appliances clean, you want to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy after your braces are removed. Food particles are easily trapped in your braces, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your teeth and braces after every meal.
My Teeth Feel Loose!
Don’t worry- this is normal! Teeth must loosen first before they can move. Your teeth will become rigidly fixed in their new corrected positions near the end of your treatment.
Why Do I Need Headgear and Rubber Bands?
Teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. These items are used to help move the teeth and jaw into their new positions and avoiding them will only lengthen your treatment plan.
What About Sports and Musical Instruments?
Some musical instruments, like trumpets will take a little getting used to, but can be managed. If you play sports, it’s important to talk to us about any special precautions. We recommend mouth guards for sports where there is a possibility of contact to the mouth. We want you to protect your braces, teeth and mouth from damage or injury.