Life With Braces

Is Better Than You Think

So you have braces…now what? So many questions right? Well no worries, Advantage Orthodontics is here to help! Dr. Ford and the team at Advantage can answer any questions you have. Before you contact us, have a quick look at this page and the answer might be here already. If not, call us and we’ll get you taken care of! Let’s start with food first.

What to Eat:

For the most part, you’ll be able to eat many of the same foods you’ve enjoyed before. The general rule is to avoid things that are hard, sticky, gummy or chewy, to prevent breaking the bond that holds the brackets on the teeth. Once you have your braces on, there are couple things you should know to help you along the way to your new smile. We’ll review them and answer any questions when your braces or aligners are placed, so here are the highlights:

Ongoing Food Recommendations:

There are hundreds of foods that you CAN eat with braces and a few that you need to avoid to prevent damage to your Invisalign attachments, or brackets and wires. Attachment and bracket de-bonds, and bent arch wires can result in more visits and delays in your treatment that could extend the time you wear braces.

Foods to Avoid With Braces

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum (sugar-free gum is okay)
  • Foods you have to bite into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies

Foods You Can Eat With Braces

  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, sliced fruit, most berries (but watch out for seeds)
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake

The First Few Days With Braces and after an archwire adjustment can be tough with sore teeth and some lip and gum irritation.

A salt water rinse created with (a quarter teaspoon of table salt mixed into a cup of warm water and swished inside the mouth and then spit out) 4-6 times a day can work wonders to soothe irritation.
Take care of yourself from the start by covering any brackets that seem to rub against the inside of your mouth with wax. We provide wax in your home care kit and it is also available in the dental care aisle of drugstores. A piece of wax stuck on the offending bracket will work wonders; especially if you do it early.

You can also take over the counter pain relief medication in a dose that you would normally take for a headache, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Many patients find this helpful the day of their appointment – even taking it in advance.
Soft Foods in the beginning can make your life easier. Pasta, mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups can be more comfortable to eat when you’re getting started and your teeth are tender and you’re not used to having braces.

Helpful Tips

  • We recommend you use a soft bristled tooth brush with a small head. Electric and sonic tooth brushes are also acceptable.
  • Brush your teeth after meals and snacks.
  • If you have eaten while away from home, use your inter-dental brush to dislodge any food that may get caught around your braces.
  • Rinsing with water is another way to dislodge food from your braces, and to keep sugar from sitting on your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • We recommend that you have a check up with your dentist every 6 months.

After Hours Care

Things To Keep In Mind

Most orthodontic concerns can wait until the office re-opens. However, in case of an emergency, an orthodontic clinician is available during the hours of 9:00-4:00 on weekends and days the office is closed. Please review the suggestions below for some common issues. If you are still in need of emergency assistance, please call our office and you will be instructed on how to reach the on-call orthodontic clinician and Dr. Ford.

Common Issues

Home Care

Good Habits To Have

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular massage like motions to reach food particles and plaque that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle to brush above and below wires. Brush slowly and carefully, including between teeth, on the surface of each tooth and around each bracket and wires. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque: In the morning after breakfast, after lunch or right after school, after dinner, at bedtime. Many of our patients find it helpful to use a Sonicare or Oral B electric toothbrush to help achieve excellent daily plaque control.

Brushing the brackets and wires can cause your toothbrush to wear more quickly than before braces. If you notice the bristles starting to bend or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste as you brush, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.

Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day. A floss threader which has a stiff end will help you push the floss under your archwire. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.