Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces: Caring for Braces

For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires and pull them loose. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Corn on the cob (unless cut off the cob)
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods like:

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Only Once a Day:

  • Soda
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar



It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or lose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.

Sore Teeth and Mouth

Right after you get your braces, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will likely feel sore. To alleviate the pain, you may gargle lukewarm saltwater, which is a mixture of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water. You can also take Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain relievers. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Loosening of Teeth

During orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become loose as they move into their new positions. This is normal, so do not be alarmed! Once your teeth are in their corrected positions, they will become fixed in their place during the retention phase.

Loose Brackets or Bands

Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation at night or over the weekend that requires adjusting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire. If you need to adjust a wire in case of an emergency, you may use a blunt tool, such as the eraser of a pencil, to push the poking wire underneath the archwire. You can also place wax on the protruding portion of the braces to alleviate irritation. If you do remove any part of your braces, please save it and bring it to your repair appointment. When you have an emergency, please call our office the next business day so that we may schedule a repair appointment for you.

Caring for Your Appliances

Patient cooperation is a big part of successful orthodontic treatment. Please be sure to wear your appliance as prescribed, including your rubber bands, headgear, retainer or other appliance. If your braces break, this will only prolong your treatment time.


During orthodontic treatment, it is extremely important to brush your teeth after each meal and at night before going to bed. Poor brushing can cause cavities and permanent white marks on your teeth. Brush thoroughly; be sure to brush your tongue, gums, and all chewing surfaces. After brushing each night, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. If you have periodontal disease, you should see your periodontist regularly during your orthodontic treatment.

Playing Sports with Braces

Great news for athletes! You can continue to play sports during orthodontic treatment. However, we recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances, which we can provide. If you have an emergency during a sports activity, examine your mouth and appliance immediately to see if any damage has occurred. If your teeth feel loose or your appliance is damaged, call us immediately. Wax or a saltwater rinse can temporarily relieve discomfort.