Life with Braces

Orthodontist In Phoenix, AZ

Show off your new braces!  Now that you have them, how do you take care of them? Here is what you need to know to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment:

Child with dental braces

Eating with Braces

Soon you willl be eating popcorn and snacking on tortilla chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods to avoid with braces:


Specifically avoid:

  • Gum
  • Taffy
  • Hard Candy
  • Sticky candy such as caramels, Sugar Daddies, Starbursts, caramel apples, Sugar Babies, licorice, toffee, Tootie Rolls, Now and Laters
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Thick tortilla chips
  • Whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first)
  • Hard French bread crust and rolls
  • Corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating)
  • Thick bagels
  • Thick pizza crust
  • Large, hard petzels
  • Chewable vitamins (hard or soft)

When you are craving something sweet, plain chocolate candy is best as long as you brush afterwards,


Crunchy, chewy, sticky, gooey foods can damage your braces which will require additional appointments and lengthen your treatment time.  When you follow Dr. Sabatino’s instructions about what to eat and how to keep your braces in good shape, your hard work will lead to excellent results!

Be sure to brush and floss often (some patients use a water flosser/waterpik with great results).  Watch what you eat and chew (pencils and finger nails included).  If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our office. 

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
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Chocolate (Plain M&M’s, plain Hershey Kisses, 3 Musketeer Bar, Kit Kat, Resses Cups, Reeses Pieces, Chocolate Bars with out nuts or caramel, Nestle Crunch Bars, Snow Caps)
  • Marshmallow
  • Cakes (Birthday, Twinkies, Snow Balls, Ding Dongs, Zingers
  • Ice Cream or Popsicles (no ice)
  • Jell-O or Pudding
  • Low sugar, non-carbonated drinks
  • Cookies and Crackers (beware of crunchy ones)
  • Chips (beware of restaurant type)
  • Cheetos
  • Pirate’s Booty (popcorn substitute)
  • Soft Breads or Toast (bite size)
  • Sandwiches (bite size)
  • Pizza (bite size)
  • Burritos
  • Hamburgers and Hotdogs (bite size)
  • Meat (bite size with out bone, chewy meat may be hard on your jaw joints)
  • Salads
  • Raw Vegetables (bite size)
  • Cooked Vegetables (bite size)
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit (bite size)
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Rice (brush carefully after)
  • Sushi
  • Most Cold Cereals (not hard granola)
  • Hot Cereals
  • Soup
  • Marcaroni and Cheese
  • Pasta Dishes
  • Cheese

Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Take Care of Your Appliances

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

When you have braces it’s very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment.  If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss or waterflosser/waterpik, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.

Playing Sports with Braces

We have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let Dr. Sabatino know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.

- Steven Sabatino Orthodontics

Need To Schedule or
Have A Question?

Call (602)-485-4700 or send a message!

Service Offer