Life with Braces

Eating with Braces

The first few days with orthodontic appliances can be the most challenging, as teeth are often sore and appliances may feel cumbersome. Initially, you'll want to stick to soft foods and avoid tough meats, hard breads and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to go back to your normal diet with a few exceptions.

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. Note that most foods can be enjoyed if cut into small pieces and placed into the mouth by the back teeth.
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.


For healthy teeth and gums, it's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces or any orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. After brushing and flossing, a nightly over-the-counter fluoride rinse is recommended.

brushing with braces

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. During this time, a diet of softer foods can greatly diminish tooth soreness during chewing. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol or a similar product used to treat common body aches or headaches.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also be irritated for one to two weeks as 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!

Additionally, if tissues are irritated, try rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing some type of oral anesthetic on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy.

Loose Wire or Band

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a 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 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.

Patient Responsibilities

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the Eisen Orthodontics team. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears rubber bands and other appliances as prescribed. Broken or damaged appliances and missed appointments can lengthen the treatment time. Poor oral hygiene can also complicate treatment, causing delays and — in extreme situations — discontinuation of treatment.


If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard 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 for an appointment.

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