We won’t sugarcoat it: life with braces will be different. That said, it doesn’t have to be difficult – like any significant change in your life, having braces will get easier as you go along. But, how do you maintain your lifestyle while having braces? We’ve collected our top tips from orthodontists across the country to help you live the life you want.

  1. Don’t worry about your braces (a lot of people have them!).
  2. Eat soft foods for the first couple days after your orthodontic appointments.
  3. On bad days, remember that you’re doing something good for your health and your appearance.
  4. Don’t chew on things that aren’t food – pencils, pens, what have you.
  5. If you experience discomfort or pain, gargle with salt water.
  6. Keep your braces clean! Brush multiple times a day.
  7. Floss daily.
  8. Stock your bag with tools—flossers, toothbrush, wax—for on the go.
  9. Unless you want stained teeth, don’t smoke.
  10. Avoid sticky foods.
  11. Try not to bite into anything hard like apples or corn on the cob.
  12. Remember your mouthwash.
  13. Go to the dentist regularly (almost as regularly as your orthodontist!).
  14. Keep an eye on bent or loose wires or brackets. Those can hurt.
  15. Don’t use whitening products until after your braces are off.
  16. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
  17. Smile.
  18. Stick to your follow-up appointment schedule.
  19. Eat popsicles.
  20. Imagine your beautiful smile after your braces are off!