Life With Braces

How to manage living with braces

Life With Braces

How do you live life with braces? What do you need to change? Follow these tips to ease and expedite your orthodontic treatment.


After your braces are installed, brush and floss as normal. We recommend brushing after each meal, and flossing at least once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste, and ask Dr. Petrous if you need an additional fluoride rinse.


Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of your braces. Also, use them: your teeth and jaws can only ease into place if you wear all prescribed rubber bands, headgear, retainers, and other appliances consistently.

The wires and bands on your braces may break or come loose. If this happens, please consult the “emergencies” section of the site, and contact us to schedule a visit.


Adjusting your diet is often the toughest part of having braces. To avoid damaging your new appliances, choose gentle, yielding foods, such as:

  • Juice
  • Soft fruits (applesauce, bananas)
  • Soft desserts (pudding, Jello, cake)
  • Soft grains (pasta, soft-cooked rice)
  • Seafood (tuna, salmon, crab cakes, fish)
  • Breads (tortillas, pancakes, nutless muffins)
  • Soft dairy (soft cheese, yogurt, milk-based drinks)
  • Soft-cooked meats (soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats)
  • Soft vegetables (mashed potatoes, steamed greens, soft beans, corn-off-the-cob)

Avoid chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard food. Also avoid foods that require biting into, and sugary foods (sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth, creating more plaque and possibly causing cavities).

Examples include:

  • Chewy (bagels, licorice)
  • Crunchy (popcorn, chips, ice)
  • Sticky (caramels, chewing gum)
  • Hard (nuts, hard candies)
  • Foods that require biting (cob corn, apples, carrots)
  • Sugary foods (ice cream, other desserts)


After your braces are inserted, your teeth, mouth, lips, cheeks, and tongue may feel tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise that it won’t last forever!

For relief from tooth/mouth soreness: Dissolve 1 tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for 2-3 minutes (do not swallow). If the pain doesn’t go away, take a pain reliever such as Tylenol or aspirin.

For relief from lips/cheek/tongue tenderness: During your next visit, ask for some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.


“Loose” teeth are perfectly normal: your teeth need to loosen up to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.


Great news for athletes! You can have your braces—and still play your game.

  • DO wear a mouthguard for protection. Ask us: we can help you find the right one.
  • In case of a sports-related emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and braces for damage. If you notice any damage to your teeth and/or appliances, save the loose pieces—and contact our office.

Use the above tips (saltwater gargle, wax over appliances) to relieve any pain or discomfort.