Living With Braces


Eating with Braces



What can you eat? When you have just started wearing braces, stick to very soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you will be able to eat normal food, but you will want to avoid anything that can damage your braces. Keep in mind that you will need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat, for as long as you are wearing braces.


Foods to Avoid

•Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice

•Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips

•Sticky foods: caramels, gum

•Hard foods: nuts, candy

•Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob,

  apples, carrots

•Chewing on hard things

(for example, ice, pens, pencils or fingernails)

can damage the braces. Damaged braces

will cause orthodontic treatment to take longer.


General Soreness

When you have just started wearing braces, you

may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth

may be tender to biting pressures for one to five days.

This soreness can feel like touching a bruise and can

be soothed by rinsing your mouth with a warm

salt-water rinse. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt

in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth

vigorously. If the tenderness is interfering with your

daily routine, take the recommended dose of

over-the-counter Ibuprofen, as long as your

physician has not instructed you otherwise.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

drug. The anti-inflammatory property should

give relief in addition to the “anti-discomfort”

property. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also

become irritated for one to two weeks, as they toughen

and become accustomed to the surface of the braces.


Loosening of Teeth

Loosening or mild mobility of permanent teeth is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It is normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new, corrected positions.


Loose Wire, Bracket, or Band

Don't be alarmed if an archwire, ligature tie, bracket, or band breaks or comes loose. Occasional breakage can happen. If the pigtail ("twisted end") of a wire ligature tie protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the eraser end of a pencil, the back of a spoon, or a set of tweezers), disinfect it with rubbing alcohol, and carefully push the irritating pigtail under the archwire to move it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the pigtail to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it, and bring it with you to the office.

For any home remedy you may use, please disinfect with rubbing alcohol any instrument or tool you put into the mouth.


Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, a patient must work together with Dr. Cressman and the his Team. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the orthodontic treatment time.


Keeping Your Mouth Clean

It is more important than ever to focus on keeping your mouth clean when you have orthodontic appliances, so that the teeth and gums are healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Because Dr. Cressman believes so strongly in helping you to succeed at cleaning your mouth, a hygiene kit will be included free of charge, to give you all of the tools you need to succeed at excellent oral hygiene. We recommend a Water Pik and/or a Sonicare Electric Tooth Brush.


Brushing & Flossing

The biggest enemy of your teeth is plaque and the most common and effective means of removing plaque from your teeth is regular brushing and flossing:










Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:

•In the morning after breakfast

•After lunch or right after school

•After supper

•At bedtime


You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.






For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.


Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.

We also recommend a Water Pik and/or a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush