Causes, Food and Simple Tips for Easing Braces Pain

May 12, 2024 | 2 min read

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Braces pain is a common concern for many undergoing orthodontic treatment. This discomfort usually stems from the pressure of the braces adjusting teeth into their proper position. 

Understanding what foods to eat and avoid, how to use simple at-home treatments, and maintaining oral care can significantly ease the experience of braces pain.

Causes of Braces Pain

Braces pain is primarily caused by the pressure exerted on teeth and gums as the braces work to align your teeth. When braces are first applied or adjusted, they apply force to the teeth to move them into the correct position. 

This movement can irritate and cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues, leading to discomfort. 

Additionally, the brackets and wires can rub against the inside of the mouth, causing soreness and ulcers.

First Day Braces Pain

On the first day after getting braces, it is common to experience significant discomfort as your mouth adjusts to the new hardware. The initial pain is due to the sudden pressure on your teeth as they begin the realignment process. 

This discomfort can be more pronounced during the first few hours and days as the teeth start to shift. 

To alleviate the discomfort experienced on the first day:

  • Soft Foods: Stick to a diet of soft foods such as yogurt, smoothies, soups, and mashed potatoes to minimize chewing, which can exacerbate the pain.
  • Orthodontic Wax: Apply orthodontic wax to any part of your braces that is causing irritation or sore spots on your gums and the inside of your lips.
  • Cold Compresses: Use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth to help reduce swelling and numb the area, providing temporary relief.
  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain gentle oral hygiene practices. Brushing softly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using fluoride mouthwash can help soothe irritated areas.

Foods to Eat with Braces Pain

Choosing the right foods is crucial to reducing braces pain because hard, crunchy, or sticky foods can increase discomfort by exerting pressure on the braces and irritating the gums.

Recommended Foods:

  • Yogurt and Smoothies: These are gentle on the mouth and require minimal chewing.
  • Soups and Broths: Warm (not hot) soups can soothe soreness and provide essential nutrients.
  • Mashed Potatoes and Oatmeal: Soft and filling, these foods are easy to consume without causing additional pain.

Opt for foods that are cool or at room temperature to help numb the sore areas, and avoid anything too crunchy or chewy that could pull on the braces.

According to Healthline, certain foods can increase the risk of damage to your braces and exacerbate pain. It's best to avoid popcorn, hard candy, sticky candy, and gum as they can stick to and pull on the braces, potentially leading to more discomfort and even damage to the orthodontic work.

How to Relieve Braces Pain at Home?

  • Ice Packs: Apply a cold compress to the affected area every hour for about 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Saltwater Rinses: Rinse with warm salt water five times a day, especially after meals to cleanse the mouth and soothe irritation. Continue this practice for as long as you experience irritation and soreness, which is typically more intense in the first week after an adjustment.
  • Orthodontic Wax: Apply wax to the parts of braces that are causing irritation to prevent further discomfort.
  • Soft Massages: Gently massaging the gums with a clean finger can increase blood flow and relieve discomfort.
  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used as directed to help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Always follow the dosage instructions or consult with a healthcare provider if unsure.
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Please Note!This tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a professional before taking any actions.

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