Wear and Care List

Wear and Care List

Welcome to the club!

As a new orthodontic patient, we ask your cooperation in using your best judgment to avoid or modify eating certain foods that can damage orthodontic appliances and subsequently lengthen treatment time.  The following suggestions may be helpful, although this list is not an all-inclusive list.

What to avoid with Braces...

Sticky Foods To Avoid:

  • Gum
  • Taffy
  • Caramel
  • Dots
  • Jellybeans
  • Milk Duds
  • Gummy Bears
  • Bit O’Honey
  • Marshmellow products
  • Caramel Corn
  • Candy bars with chewy caramel & nuts
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Licorice
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst
  • Skittles

Hard Foods & Substances:

  • Hard candies (i.e. Jolly Ranchers)
  • Jawbreakers
  • Peanut M&Ms
  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Power bars
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Toothpicks
  • Opening things with your teeth
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard nuts
Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

Modifying the Food:

  • Apples, raw carrots and other hard fruits and vegetables by cutting them into thin bite size pieces.
  • Cut corn on the cob off the cob.
  • Modify hard crust pizzas, bagels, tacos, and chips by breaking them into small pieces.

What about things I can eat?

There are a lot of things to avoid while in braces; however, there are a lot of things you still can eat! Here are some examples:

  • 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
  • Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cakes
(If you are allergic to any of these foods, do not eat them)

All these different types of foods have something in common…. they are soft foods! Make sure to keep this in mind when making dinner or going out to eat. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please let us know!

Oral Hygiene

We cannot stress enough the importance of healthy gums and teeth. Gum infections may occur if plaque is left on the teeth.  Permanent enamel damage can also occur with insufficient oral hygiene.  Continue to see your general dentist for regular cleanings and check ups during your orthodontic treatment.


  • Use a brush with a small amount of toothpaste. Place bristles where gums and teeth meet (this is called gumline)
  • Brush the gumline on the inside and outside and then brush your braces
  • Use circular, vibrating motions. 10 seconds on each tooth. Brush slowly, each arch separately, every tooth.
  • Special brushes can be used for hard-to-clean places. Electric toothbrushes work well too.

Mouth Rinses:

  • Mouth rinses with fluoride are often a part of oral hygiene during braces


  • Carefully pull floss between the wire and braces with a floss threader. We will show you how!

What about retainers & Aligners?

We have done a lot of talking about braces, but what happens after you get into the retention phase? You’ll be put into a retainer or clear aligners to make sure your smile stays perfect. We’ll be going through some dos and don’ts on these as well!

Can I drink anything?

While your retainer/aligner is in, we recommend not drinking some beverages with it in.  Water is perfectly safe to drink while having it on. Beverages with carbonation (bubbles) or flavoring are more acidic than pure water and we do not want the acid to sit between the plastic and your teeth, This can lead to cavities! If you do eat or drink something with your aligner in, make sure to take it out and rinse both your aligner and mouth with water before putting it back on. 

Where do i put my retainer/clear aligner?

Make sure to always  put it in your case! We will provide you with one when you pick them up. When wrapped in napkins or tissues and laid on a table or plate, you can run the risk of it being thrown away. Another reason to use your case is that animals, especially dogs, love to chew on retainers. Pockets, purses, and backpacks also are culprits for crushed and broken retainers/clear aligners. Cases are free, but replacement retainers/clear aligners are not.

brush your aligners to keep them clean

When you remove your aligners to brush your teeth, make sure to also thoroughly clean your retainer. Make sure all surfaces are scrubbed with a wet toothbrush – our preference is for you to use water and either hand or dish soap with a toothbrush. It is okay to use toothpaste however the particles in toothpaste will start to make clear plastic look scuffed or opaque. Soaking retainers in denture cleaner or retainer cleaner will help remove stains, do NOT soak in mouthwash containing alcohol. Do NOT heat retainers or place them in boiling water or microwaves/dishwashers, washing machines – this will destroy them.

Wear your aligner as instructed

Initially your speech may be affected; most patients adapt easily and return to normal speech quickly. If your aligners become loose or seems ill fitting, or you notice teeth shifting, contacte the office during regular business hours to schedule an appointment. Retainers are designed to maintain the teeth in their position, but teeth have a tendency to relapse slightly even years after treatment has been completed. Rotations and shifting of lower front teeth are the most common examples of changes that can occur through the normal aging process. Prolonged retainer wear should prevent most of these from occurring.

aligners will eventually need to be replaced

Just like clothes or shoes, if you keep wearing the same aligner it will eventually wear out. The plastic of your aligner stretches over time and eventually expires. Ask us about making an SLA digital model and a set of multiple retainers so you don’t need to come in for new impressions. Additional fees are required for replacements

Lost or Broken?

Call us right away if something gets lost of broken.  In order to not lose your result, a retainer is mandatory so a new one will need to be fabricated. Additional fees are required for replacements.