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10 Tips to Help You Live Better With Your New Braces

By Connolly Orthodontics

Getting braces can be exciting, but it can also seem intimidating. What foods can you eat with braces? What foods should you avoid with braces? Should you still visit the dentist? Do you need to wear a mouthguard while playing sports with braces? You may have many questions about your new braces, which may be overwhelming. 

Connolly Orthodontics is here for you every step of the way. We won't just put braces on your teeth and send you on your way. We'll give you the basics of wearing and caring for your braces, and we will happily answer any questions you may have. Let's get you started with a few of our patient's most common questions. 

Surviving Your First Week With Braces

The first week may be the most difficult with your braces, mainly because they're new. It will take a few days for your mouth to get used to having something else in it besides your teeth and tongue. Your braces start working immediately to move your teeth, which means you may be sore for a few days. Here are a few tips on how to make that first week easier. 

Eat Soft Foods

Your teeth and gums may be sore the first few days with braces, so you don't want to do a lot of chewing. Soft foods are the way to go the first week. Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, soft-cooked vegetables, and even protein shakes are great menu items for the first few days. The soreness should subside after that so that you can return to a more normal diet. 

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Rinse With Warm Saltwater

Warm salt water can soothe your sore gums and reduce the discomfort in your teeth. The warm water also opens your blood vessels to stimulate faster healing. A couple of tablespoons of salt in 8 ounces of water should do the trick. Please don't get the water too warm, and make sure you slosh it around well and spit it out. For the best results, rinse with the salt water at least twice a day and don't eat or drink immediately afterward. 

Use OTC Painkillers if Necessary

If the soreness persists, you can reduce the discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. Take the dosage recommended on the bottle, and do not exceed it. 

If the pain does not subside after a week, give us a call. Usually, though, the soreness is gone within a week. 

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Use Your Dental Wax

Over time, your tongue and inside of your cheeks will "toughen up." You'll become more used to your braces. Until then, you may have some discomfort. If you have particular areas bothering you, we recommend you cover that bracket or wire with a bit of dental wax. It's easy to use! Pinch a pea-sized portion, roll it between your index finger and thumb to warm it up, soften it, and then place it over the area that may irritate your mouth. 

Eventually, your mouth will become used to the braces, and you won't need the dental wax as much. Call us right away if you find a stray wire sticking out or breaking a wire. We can set up an appointment to fix the problem. Your comfort is a priority! 

Don't Worry About Loose Teeth

You may feel that your teeth are a bit loose after a few days of wearing your braces. This is perfectly normal. In fact, this is exactly what we want! Your teeth will loosen slightly to start to move into their proper positions. Don't worry; they shouldn't get too loose or try to fall out. Your braces will keep them from doing that. They will start to move to where they're supposed to be. You'll be on your way to that beautiful new smile!

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Things to Remember With Braces

Once you've gotten past the first week, you'll be an old pro at the braces game. There are a few things to keep in mind throughout your braces journey to give you the best results possible. Here are a few tips to make the transition easier.

Foods You Can Eat

You have food restrictions with braces, but you have a lot of great foods you can still enjoy! Here are a few favorites.

  • Soft bread and tortillas
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Poultry/meats
  • Seafood
  • Soft-cooked vegetables and potatoes
  • Soft fruits and fruit juices (none that require a forward bite, like apples)
  • Soft cheeses
  • Pudding and Jell-O
  • Cake and ice cream, soft (not chewy) chocolate

These are just a few delicious foods you can enjoy with your braces. 

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Foods You Should Avoid

There are so many great foods to enjoy with braces, but there are a few foods to avoid with braces. Here's a list of foods you'll want to skip for now.

  • Sticky foods such as caramels and taffy
  • Chewy foods such as bagels, certain candies like Laffy Taffy, licorice, and gum
  • Crunchy foods such as popcorn, tortilla chips, ice, toffee
  • Hard foods such as nuts, hard candies
  • Front-bite foods such as apples, carrots, corn on the cob

Keep in mind that these restrictions are just temporary! Once your braces are off, you'll be able to go back to eating these foods again! 

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

You may find it a challenge at first to brush and floss your teeth properly, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent damage to your braces. You can try a floss threader to get under the archwire and floss your teeth correctly for flossing. The other option is to use a water flosser, such as a WaterPik. 

Brush and floss your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice daily, though after each meal is ideal. A lack of good oral hygiene can cause demineralization of your enamel, which will leave white spots on your teeth after your braces are removed. So make sure you brush and floss daily!

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Keep Your Dentist and Orthodontist Checkups

During your treatment, you'll need to make regular visits to us. We will check for any issues with your braces, such as a loose bracket or broken wire. We'll tighten up your braces and check that your teeth are moving as they should. We'll also answer any questions you may have. 

You may think that you don't have to see your dentist because you're seeing us. This isn't true! It would be best to visit your dentist at least twice a year for your regular dental cleanings. Your dentist will be able to clean your braces and examine whether you have any potential tooth decay or other problems. 

Wear a Mouthguard for Sports

Once you have your braces, you'll need to protect them and protect your mouth. We know many of our patients love playing sports. We encourage you to protect your mouth and braces with a mouthguard, particularly with sports that may involve contact with your mouth or potential injury to your mouth. This can include baseball, softball, football, basketball, lacrosse, and wrestling. We encourage you to wear a mouthguard. 

If something happens and your mouth is injured, contact us right away. The priority is to visit your doctor or dentist to ensure your mouth isn't seriously injured. Then see us if you feel you might have damaged your braces. We'll give them a thorough check to ensure no brackets are loose or wires are bent or broken. 

With the right amount of diligence and care, you can enjoy sports activities throughout your braces treatment.

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