What can I eat with Braces?
Jan 6, 2024
Orthodontic treatment is an essential part of oral health care. However, for those who have braces, eating habits may need to be adjusted. This is primarily to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment and to avoid potential damage to the braces.
Why Dietary Changes Are Necessary?
Orthodontic treatment requires some lifestyle changes, and adapting your eating habits is one of them. Making the right food choices when you have braces can significantly affect the success and comfort of your treatment.
There are three main reasons why dietary changes are needed with braces:
- Protecting Braces from Damage
The primary reason for dietary adjustments when wearing braces is to avoid damaging the orthodontic appliance. Consuming hard or sticky foods can potentially snap the arch wire or dislodge a bracket from the tooth. This can render the braces ineffective until the orthodontist can repair the damage. Thus, steering clear of foods that could harm your braces can accelerate the treatment process.
- Minimising Discomfort
After an orthodontist adjusts the braces, it’s common for the teeth to feel a bit sore. Soft foods that don’t require much chewing can provide a welcome relief. Once the teeth have adjusted to the new setting, you can resume your regular (braces-friendly) diet.
- Preventing Stained Teeth
Consuming sugary foods and drinks without brushing soon after can lead to teeth staining. It’s best to avoid any food or drinks that can coat teeth in sugar, leading to staining.
What Foods Can I Eat with Braces?
The moment you’ve been waiting for, what can I eat with braces? In essence, you can eat many of the same foods as before, but some modifications might be necessary. The goal is to avoid foods that can damage your braces or cause discomfort. Here are some categories of food that you can safely eat with braces.
Dairy products like soft cheese, yoghurt and milk are excellent sources of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth. You can also enjoy other dairy products such as cottage cheese and pudding.
Breads and Grains
Soft bread types, such as pre-cut loaves, soft tacos, and tortillas, are safe for braces. Grains like rice, noodles, and all kinds of cooked pasta are soft and suitable for braces.
Soft meats and chicken, seafood (without the bones and shell), and eggs are all good sources of protein that you can safely eat with braces.
Fruits and Vegetables
You don’t have to give up on fruits and vegetables when you have braces. Soft fruits like bananas, kiwi fruit, pineapple, strawberries, and stone fruits are all fine. Most soft, cooked vegetables are also okay.
For those with a sweet tooth, soft sweet treats like ice cream, jelly, smoothies, and milkshakes are all fine. However, remember that consuming too much sugar can harm your teeth and overall health, so keep these as occasional treats.
Soft foods are the safest option when you have braces. They require minimal effort to chew and don’t pose a risk to your orthodontic device.
Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces
While there are many foods you can enjoy with braces, there are some that you should avoid. These include:
- Hard Fruits and Vegetables
Whole apples, pears, and raw vegetables like carrots should be avoided. However, they are perfectly fine if they are cut into small pieces or cooked to soften before eating.
- Hard or Crusty Bread
Hard rolls, bread, and pizza crusts can be problematic. Choose a soft variety of bread or remove hard crusts.
- Popcorn and Nuts
Popcorn kernels can easily become stuck in braces or under the gum in a spot that is difficult to access. Most nuts are hard and can dislodge brackets and break wires.
- Tough Meat and Sticky Foods
Try to only eat soft meats that don’t require a lot of chewing. Sticky foods like caramel can become stuck to brackets and arch wires, causing breakages.
- Sugary Drinks
High sugar drinks can cause decay. It is best to avoid sugary drinks with braces. The sugar can stay on the teeth causing them to stain which can be more noticeable after the braces come off.
Helpful Eating Tips for Brace Wearers
In addition to understanding proper food choices for individuals with braces, there are several strategies that can enhance eating comfort.
Firstly, it is advisable to consume small portions, even if this prolongs the meal duration, as it prevents food from becoming trapped in the braces and minimises the risk of harm.
Secondly, it is recommended to utilise the back teeth for chewing, as this diminishes pressure on the front teeth and safeguards the braces from damage. It is beneficial to eat at a leisurely pace and thoroughly chew food.
Lastly, it is advantageous to have a toothbrush readily available. Brushing after meals aids in removing any food particles lodged in the braces and promotes optimal oral hygiene.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene with Braces
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial when you have braces. As mentioned earlier, food particles can easily get stuck in your braces, leading to plaque build-up and potential tooth decay.
Brushing after every meal and flossing daily can help keep your braces clean. Using a fluoride mouthwash can also help prevent decay.
Additionally, regular visits to your orthodontist for adjustments and your visits to the dentist for a scale/clean are essential to keep your braces and teeth in top shape.
With a little effort and mindfulness, adjusting your diet when you have braces doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Remember, while the treatment period may seem long, it is only a small sacrifice for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
Always consult your orthodontist if you have any doubts about what you can and can’t eat with your braces on.