Life With Braces – Eating, Brushing, Flossing & Playing Sports
Parsippany, Morris Plains, Boonton, Mountain Lakes, Whippany, and Montville, NJ’s Favorite Award-Winning Orthodontist For Braces
Once you get braces, you may be curious about how you should take care of them. It’s important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment, in order to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend wearing braces.
Eating With Braces
Don’t worry: you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your braces.
Foods To Avoid With Braces
- Chewy Foods – bagels, licorice
- Crunchy Foods – popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky Foods – caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard Foods – nuts, hard candies
- Foods That Require Biting Into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods You CAN Eat With Braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/Poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
For some foods, you can still incorporate them into your diet. Whole apples should be cut into wedges, and vegetables should be cooked until soft.
Brushing & Flossing With Braces
It is absolutely essential to brush and floss well while you’re wearing your new braces. With braces, there are many nooks and crannies where food particles will hide and grow bacteria (yuck!). You want to be sure to brush after every meal (at least 3 times per day) and floss every night.
Most importantly, you need to continue to see your general dentist for cleanings. It is recommended for most patients to go 3 times per year (once every 4 months) while their braces are on.
Soreness Caused From Braces & Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes. (Do not swallow the saltwater.)
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking an over the counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil). It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry. This is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, your teeth will get firm and strong again.
Take Care Of Your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Playing Sports With Braces
If you play sports, it is important for the safety of your mouth to wear a brace-friendly mouthguard. Dr. Caggiano would be happy to help you find the right mouthguard for the best protection.