Life With Braces
Life with Braces and Caring for your Braces
Congratulations! You have officially begun the path towards your most beautiful, confident, and healthy smile. Once you begin your orthodontic treatment, you will have to make a few small lifestyle changes. Adjusting to life with braces means you must take good care of your teeth and your braces. Our tips and assistance will help you adjust to your new braces in no time!
You may experience tenderness and soreness during your first few days with braces. This is perfectly normal and the good news is that it goes away quickly, usually within several days. You may choose to temporarily use over the counter analgesics. Hang in there, and know that it will all be worth it!
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated as they become used to the braces. Warm salt water rinses (1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water) are a good, old fashioned remedy. It is essential to have great brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene habits in order to keep bacteria at bay and keep your teeth healthy. Please see your dentist 2-3 times a year for proper care. Don’t forget to use wax, which we will provide for you for comfort.
Care & Maintenance: “A Must During Treatment”
How to Brush with Braces
- Brush thoroughly after each time you eat a meal or snack. If you cannot brush right away after a meal, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
- Braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth.
- You’re doing a good job if your braces look clean and shiny, and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly. Fuzzy-looking or dull metal indicates poor brushing.
How to Floss with Braces
- Floss every night before you go to bed
- Use a floss threader, floss aid, or a small pointed brush. These reusable tools allow you to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Eating with Braces
There are only a few dietary adjustments that need to be made in order to protect your new braces, and ensure that your treatment goes smoothly. But don’t worry, there are still many tasty foods that you can still eat! “Common sense ” is your guide.
- Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks, yogurts, cottage cheese, eggs
- Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry tender meats, meatballs, lunch meats
- Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
- Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
- Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies. But remember to always limit your intake on sugar!
Foods to avoid or to break into small pieces with braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French breads
- Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies including lollipops, thick pretzels
- Sticky foods – caramel candies, gummy candies
- Hard foods – nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots, ribs and chicken wings. These foods need to be cut up into small pieces before eating.
Habits to avoid with braces:
- Chewing on objects such as pens & ice cubes
Tips for Athletes & Musicians
You can still play sports during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard. If you are involved in an accident during athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, please schedule an appointment.
If you play an instrument, you may find it a bit challenging to become adjusted to playing with your braces. It is normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position and sores can develop, too. Liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen.