girl with braces

Life With Braces


Life with braces is much more comfortable than it used to be, especially when you choose Bill Redmond Orthodontics. That’s because Dr. Redmond offers the latest technologies designed to make orthodontics better than ever.

THE FIRST FEW DAYS after each appointment there might be some general tenderness of your teeth and mouth. Your teeth might even feel a little loose (after all – they’re on the move.) You may want to take some form of pain reliever (what you would normally take for a headache) during this time. Tenderness usually subsides within a few days.

Helpful Tips

  • We recommend you use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Electric and sonic toothbrushes are also a great choice.
  • Brush your teeth after meals and snacks.
  • If you have eaten while away from home, use your interdental brush to dislodge any food that may get caught around your braces.
  • Rinsing with water is another way to dislodge food from your braces, and to keep sugar from sitting on your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • We recommend that you have a check up with your dentist every 6 months.

Eating With Braces

You’ve probably heard from friends and family members who have worn braces that you won’t be able to eat some of your favorite foods while you’re in treatment. That’s true – if your favorite food is hard candy:-). Truth is – you can eat most anything as long as you avoid anything that might cause you to lose a bracket, break a wire, or get tangled up in goo. Here’s a simple, helpful guide to help you avoid any issues. Feel free to print this list out and put it up on the fridge.

Foods that are off-limits with braces:

  • Ice — A thousand times NO! It will destroy your braces.
  • Hard pretzels — bend wires, loosen bands, break brackets.
  • Doritos, hard shell tacos, tostitos, cheetos, fritos (and similar snack chips)— all break brackets.
  • Caramel — sticky goo which pulls off brackets and feeds the bacteria in your mouth.
  • Hard rolls and bagels — bend wires and break brackets.
  • Beef jerky — tough as nails.
  • Hard candy and suckers — you might forget and bite.
  • Nuts — no nuts of any kind.
  • Ribs — knock off brackets.
  • Pens and pencils — favorite exam time snack, break everything!
  • Popcorn — hulls get caught between gums and band, hurt like crazy and can cause need for gum graft! Note: that if you have no bands you are allowed to eat popcorn. (except kernels)
  • Raw carrots — might as well eat rocks.
  • Apples — you can eat them, just cut them up first. Sorry, no caramel apples!
  • Corn on the cob — you’ll be finding it in your teeth for weeks. If you cut it off the cob first, that’s ok!

Foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood— tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, cake
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, sliced fruit, most berries (but watch out for seeds)


  • Check your braces every day for breakage. YOU MUST CALL AND LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING BROKEN !!! Even if your next appointment is the same day! If you don’t call, it won’t be fixed!
  • We can’t put all the damaging foods on this list, so be smart. If it’s chewy, sticky, gooey or hard it’s not good for braces!
  • Broken brackets DON’T WORK! If you break them, then you will have to wear braces longer.
  • Brush those babies! If you don’t there will be scars on your teeth when you’re done.
  • Gargle with LISTERINE every night for a minimum of one minute!

Preventing Decalcification


DECALCIFICATION is a dull white spot on a tooth which is a permanent scar that is caused by poor oral hygiene. Plaque left around brackets releases acid and leaches minerals out of the tooth causing a white spot. We believe that ACIDIC BEVERAGE intake has increased in our teenage patient population and is a major player in DECALCIFICATION!

Below is a chart illustrating pH values for various products as well as sugar amounts per 12 ounces. The lower the pH level the worse the enamel dissolution. The more sugar a drink has, the more likely it is to promote decalcification and cavities. Water, being neutral, has a pH value of 7.00 and 0.0 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounces. Battery acid has a pH of 1.00 and 0.0 teaspoons of sugar.

sugar drink
ProductACIDSUGAR (tsp. per 12oz.)
Water7.00 (neutral)0.00 BEST!!
Diet 7-Up3.970.0
Diet Dr. Pepper3.410.0
Diet Coke3.390.0
Mountain Dew3.2211.0
Dr. Pepper2.9211.02
Coke Classic2.639.3
Battery Acid1.000.0 WORST!!

The threshold pH for enamel dissolution is 5.5. Additionally, energy drinks and fruit juices have a lot of sugars and low pH and are best in moderation. Our recommendation is that patients consume very few sugar, acid drinks during orthodontics, in order to prevent decalcification!

Source: California Dental Association.

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