Life With Braces

Eating with Braces

For the first day or so, stick to soft foods, such as eggs, pasta, and smoothies. A careful orthodontic patient can eat almost any food and do no damage to the appliances. However, these three types of food may cause trouble:

  • Hard foods: Pizza, ice, hard rolls, and hard candy
    • Chewing on hard things (for example: pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
    • Take special care when eating these foods:
      • Apples and Carrots Cut them into bite size pieces
      • Corn on the cob cut the corn off the cob
      • Popcorn Avoid the hard kernels. Use floss to remove husks that may get trapped between the teeth and gums.
  • Sticky foods: caramels, Sugar Daddys, Starburst, etc. If you chew gum, chew sugar free only.
  • Foods high in sugar: Limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. Sugar can increase the plaque that forms on your teeth, causing cavities and permanent white marks.
  • Check out some braces approved menu items HERE

General Soreness

When your braces are placed, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. In addition, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen every 3-4 hours as necessary. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks until they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth

It is normal to experience teeth that feel slightly loose. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become stable and fixed in their new corrected positions at the end of treatment.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or brace comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office with any questions.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete treatment, the patient must work together with Dr. Woodall and his staff. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their correct positions if the patient is cooperative in wearing the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It’s important to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums stay healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning while wearing braces.


If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once to let us know. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.