Eating With Braces

During orthodontic treatment, you will be asked to avoid certain types of food that may damage your braces. In general, hard, sticky, crunchy and chewy foods should not be eaten while you have braces as they have a tendency to damage them, which may lead to longer treatment time.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Hard foods such as candy and nuts.
  • Sticky foods such as caramel and gum.
  • Chewy foods like hard rolls, bagels, and licorice.
  • Crunchy foods such as chips, popcorn, and ice.
  • Large foods that you must bite into such as whole apples and carrots.

Foods to Enjoy:

  • Soft bread, tortillas, pancakes and muffins.
  • Dairy products such as milk, pudding, and cheese.
  • Soft grains including pasta and rice.
  • Meat such as ground beef and shredded chicken.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Vegetables that are soft such as mashed potatoes, beans, and spinach.
  • Soft fruits such as bananas.
  • Sweets including ice cream, milkshakes, gelatin, and cake.

We want to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable and quick as possible! Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions that you may have about living with your braces.

Discomfort and Soreness

How Much Discomfort is Normal?
It is normal for teeth to be sore after braces are placed or adjusted for 2-3 days. You may also feel irritation on the cheeks, lips, and tongue lasting for 1-2 weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces rubbing against them.


Gargling with lukewarm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of water) can help with tender teeth. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to relieve soreness. For irritation to the soft tissues in your mouth, we will supply you with wax to create a protective barrier on the outside of the braces. If you need some more wax, please let us know. Sometimes, taking a Tylenol can help the first few days after the braces-on appointment.

When to Call

If you feel a sharp pain or a sore begins to develop on your gums, cheeks or lips, please call us. If you suspect that you have a loose or broken band, brace or wire, please call us so that we can remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Orthodontic Brushing and Flossing

The most important job you have during your treatment is keeping your teeth clean.

Plaque and food that gets caught on your braces and is not brushed off can cause cavities, red swollen gums (gingivitis), bad breath, and permanent white spots.

You will need to brush your teeth several times a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Dr. Lung-Tor recommends that you brush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before you go to bed. Before going to bed give yourself some extra time and make sure that you brush thoroughly, floss between your teeth, and use a WaterPik.

When you brush, you need to make sure that you’re not only cleaning the braces – make sure you are cleaning your teeth. You will need to angulate the bristles so that you reach above and below the braces. Also gently brush the gum line (where your tooth and gum meet). Also, don’t forget to brush the biting surfaces of your teeth and the backs of your teeth. An interproximal brush is a great tool to get under the wire and between the braces where the toothbrush can’t reach.

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