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Caring for Your Braces

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! If you’ve been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again, but you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.

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

Chewing on hard things (for example pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become 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!

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – position.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaw can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after 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.


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. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

Athletic Mouthguards And Braces

Why should you wear a mouthguard during sports?

When it comes to protecting your smile during active sports, a properly fitted mouthguard is a key piece of athletic gear. Mouthguards cushion impact that may otherwise cause broken teeth, jaw injuries, or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Wearing braces increases the likelihood of sustaining such injuries while participating in athletic events.

We recommend mouthguards while wearing braces for the following sports:

Contact: boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, basketball, water polo, martial arts, rugby, soccer
Non-contact: baseball, softball, volleyball, skateboarding, surfing, gymnastics

What kind of mouthguard should I get and where?

Dr. Marston recommends “The Shock Doctor” brand mouthguard. There are 2 types designed specifically to be worn with braces

Ultra Braces Upper Jaw Protection Only Ultra Double Braces Upper And Lower Jaw Protection
Ultra Braces
Upper Jaw Protection Only
Ultra Double Braces
Upper And Lower Jaw Protection

These mouthguards can be purchased at most local sporting goods stores or online. They come in two sizes and may, on occasion, need to be trimmed to fit around certain types of orthodontic appliances.

Once orthodontic treatment is completed and the braces are off, a custom-made mouthguard is recommended.


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Rancho Penasquitos Orthodontics