All About Braces

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so your teeth and gums stay healthy during orthodontic treatment. Braces can make brushing and flossing harder and require adjusting your habits to keep a healthy smile.  Dr. McMahon and her staff will review proper brushing and flossing when the braces go on and as needed throughout 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. Watch the two videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

AAO Anchored Orthodontics in Minnetonka, MN

Eating with Braces

Perhaps one of our most-asked questions about life with braces is “What can I eat?” Let’s talk about it! For the first day or so after an adjustment, you may want to stick to soft foods because your teeth may be sore. 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. If you have a bracket come off your tooth, it is not a big deal! However, if you have braces come off frequently it can delay treatment times causing you to have the braces for longer. 

AAO Anchored Orthodontics in Minnetonka, MN

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots (Best to cut these into small pieces) 

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can also damage the braces. Damaged braces can cause treatment to take longer and may result in additional appointment times.  

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 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol, Advil or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to solve this, we will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Loosening of Teeth

Yes, your teeth may become a bit loose during treatment. While this is scary, it’s totally normal! This is to be expected throughout treatment. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.  If you notice excessive looseness, notify Dr. McMahon and she will determine the best course of action.  

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose, this happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, carefully use a blunt instrument (like the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. You should only try this if your discomfort becomes unmanageable with only orthodontic wax. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place additional wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances can result in a longer treatment time.


If you play sports, a protective mouthguard is recommended. Talk to Dr. McMahon about recommendations for mouthguards!