All About Braces

Eating with Braces

Hard, sticky, or sugary foods should be avoided while wearing braces. These foods can easily damage your braces or get caught between your wires and brackets. It is important to maintain great oral hygiene while in orthodontic treatment. Sugary foods can cause tooth decay and damage. For that reason, we ask that you please minimize sugary foods while in treatment with Vinson Orthodontics.

Below you will find lists that include examples of foods to avoid or limit. We’ve also provided examples of “Friendly Foods” that you can eat while in treatment. Remember to use your best judgement and always brush after eating.

Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Hard Candy like Life Savers and Jolly Ranchers
  • Chewy Candy like Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, and Starbursts
  • Gum
  • Sour Candies
  • M&Ms or Other Hard Chocolates
  • Candy with Nuts
  • Gummy Candy
  • Dried Fruit

Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice
  • Hard Snacks like Pretzels, Popcorn, Pita Chips
  • Hard Taco Shells
  • Nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Foods you must bite into like Apples or Carrots
  • Hard Bread like French Bread, Bagels, Pizza Crust
  • Chips or Crackers

Sugary Foods to Limit:

  • Cake
  • Syrup and Honey
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Soda and Juice
  • Gatorade and Kool-Aid
  • Sweet Tea

Friendly Foods:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Yogurt (without added sugars)
  • Soups
  • Soft Bread and Sandwiches
  • Soft Fruit like Bananas
  • Lean Proteins like Chicken or Fish
  • Salads and other Soft Veggies
  • Oatmeal

What to Expect

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, or have them tightened, you may feel general soreness in your mouth. Your teeth may feel tender to biting pressures for up to 3 – 5 days. Your lips, cheeks, and tongue can become irritated for the first two weeks as they become accustomed to braces. Our team will supply wax to put on your braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort. You may also consider taking Tylenol, Advil, or any other pain reliever that you normally take for headaches or discomfort.

Loose Teeth, Wires, or Bands

It is very normal for your teeth to sometimes feel loose when in orthodontic treatment. Teeth must first loosen before they can move. Your teeth will firm up in their corrected positions after treatment is completed. Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band feels loose. If a wire is sticking out and causing you irritation, you may use blunt instrument, such as a pencil eraser, and gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. If irritation continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire and call our office for an appointment to check and repair the problem.

Rubber Bands

Dr. Vinson will need your help and compliance to successfully complete orthodontic treatment. Your teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands or other appliances we prescribe. Lack of compliance or damaged appliances can lengthen your treatment time.


It’s important you let us know if you play sports so that you are protected during your treatment with us. Our office will provide a mouth guard for you to wear when playing contact sports.

Oral Hygiene

It is important for you to maintain great oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment. Below you will find ways that we recommend keeping your smile clean and healthy while wearing braces!

Interdental Toothbrush

A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and brackets. Use it gently to avoid damaging your wires while brushing. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

Peroxyl is a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse that works to: reduce gum and cheek inflammation, prevent infection, and decrease irritation while wearing braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a cap) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your regular brushing: mornings, after all meals, and before bed.

Topical Fluoride

Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel or mouthwash that can help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. It works by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel. To Use: at bedtime, place a small strip of Phos-Flur gel on your toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute, and then spit out. If using Phos-Flur mouthwash: rinse your mouth with two teaspoons (half a cap) for one minute and then spit out. Do not rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes after applying.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

Food particles and plaque accumulate on your appliance (just like your teeth). Retainer Brite is a great solution to keeping your appliances odor, plaque, and tartar free. To Use: dissolve a tablet into a small cup of warm water, place your appliance in the blue and bubbling solution, and wait 15 minutes. Rinse your hands and appliance off with water and continue regular wear. You may use this solution once a day to keep your appliance clean and odor free.

Repairs and Discomfort

Text or call our office if you break or loosen any of your appliances or are experiencing discomfort. Please do not come directly to the office. Often times, if there is no discomfort, it may not be an emergency and can be remedied during your next scheduled appointment without prolonging treatment. If you are experiencing discomfort, we can often save you a trip to our office by advising on how to relieve the discomfort at home.

After Office Hours

If the patient is in pain after hours and it cannot be relieved through the steps provided by our staff, please call us at (919-359-1904).  Information will be available regarding who to contact after hours for further assistance.