What to Eat With Braces
When you have braces, you’ll want to stay away from really sticky, hard and chewy foods that could break a bracket, dislodge a wire or get trapped in your appliance and cause inflammation. Otherwise, everything else is still on the menu during your treatment. Just be sure to break or cut food into bitesize pieces and chew with your back teeth.
If your teeth are sensitive to biting pressure when you first get braces, go for things like smoothies, scrambled eggs and yogurt until you feel ready to return to your normal diet.
Foods to Avoid With Braces
- Hard foods – popcorn, chips, ice cubes, nuts, hard candy
- Chewy foods – beef jerky, hard bagels, gummy bears
- Sticky foods – caramel, taffy, Starburst
- Foods you bite directly into – corn on the cob (off the cob is fine!), meat on the bone (take off the bone), and whole raw apples and carrots
Some great braces-friendly food options include:
- Soft-cooked meat
- Soft-cooked fish
- Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad
- Peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter, etc.
- Roasted or steamed vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft fruit like bananas, ripe peaches, berries, etc.
- Sandwich bread
- Soft tortillas
- Milk and milk alternatives
- Ice cream
- Protein shakes
Brushing and Flossing With Braces
Good oral hygiene is essential when you have braces, because food and plaque can get trapped in your brackets and wires. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy will ensure your path to a new smile is a smooth one.
How to Floss With Braces
- Floss your teeth once daily using waxed dental floss and a floss threader or a special orthodontic floss like Superfloss™.
- Guide the pointed end of your floss threader or the stiff end of your Superfloss behind your braces wire.
- Wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer fingers once it’s positioned between any two teeth, leaving a few inches of floss pulled tight between them.
- Slide the floss up and down the side of one tooth and then up and down the side of the other tooth. Be sure to floss beneath the gumline too.
- Repeat until you’ve flossed all of your teeth and around your back molars.
- While it’s not a substitute for flossing and will be an extra step, most patients like to use a water flosser during treatment. It will leave your braces and teeth extra clean.
How to Brush Your Teeth With Braces
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in the morning and after every meal and snack.
- Use small, circular motions to brush the front surface of your teeth, paying extra attention to the area between your brackets and gumline where food loves to hang out.
- With short, back-and-forth motions, brush the chewing surfaces and inside surfaces of your teeth.
- Give every tooth a bit of individual attention and brush for at least two full minutes each session.
- You may want to use an interproximal brush, or interdental brush, to clean the tight spaces around your brackets too.
Braces don’t hurt. That said, you can have some mild aching and sensitivity when you start treatment and, sometimes, after adjustments. Discomfort will go away within a few days. Manage it by:
- Sticking with soft foods and cold drinks for two to three days after getting your braces put on
- Breaking off a piece of orthodontic relief wax, rolling it in between your fingers to warm it up and sticking it on any parts of your braces that are causing irritation
- Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever (whatever you’d normally take for a headache), as needed
- Mixing ½ teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water and swishing the saltwater rinse around in your mouth before spitting it out
Playing Sports With Braces
You can continue to play all of the sports you want with braces! To keep your braces and smile safe, however, wear a mouthguard when doing any physical activity where you could experience a blow to the face. Let our team know you play sports and we’ll help you choose the best mouthguard. We can even make you a custom mouthguard to fit over your braces.