Contact Info

Mt Vernon: (740) 397-2111
Heath: (740) 281-0445


Caring for Braces

Your braces have been placed, but now what do you do? Here are some guidelines on how to correctly take care of your braces. You can also download and print our After Braces Go On handout!


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Foods to Avoid While Wearing 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. 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
  • 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 loose 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 acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Loose Teeth

When your braces apply pressure to your teeth, they will feel loose because they are being moved into their perfect position. This is a normal feeling – do not worry! Your teeth will NOT fall out! Once your teeth are in their final, correct position, they will not be loose anymore.

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.

Playing Sports While Wearing 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. We offer a special orthodontic mouthguard.

If you have an emergency during a sport 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 salt water rinse can temporarily relieve discomfort.

Brushing & Flossing While Wearing Braces

You should brush at least three times a day; in the morning, after lunch and at night. 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. Your toothbrush should be replaced at each appointment.

Flossing is necessary for cleaning areas between the teeth that can't be reached while brushing. Use dental floss each night to remove plaque and food particles. Use a reusable floss threader each day to floss under the archwire.

If you need any help picking out a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss or floss threader, just ask our staff! They are happy to help you.