How Does Wearing Braces Affect One’s Diet?

Correcting tooth misalignment by wearing braces is a standard treatment that works and is well worth any inconveniences it may temporarily cause. But the fact remains that many who learn they may need to wear braces quickly start asking questions about what they can and cannot eat during the treatment period.

Since your diet is an important part of your lifestyle, it’s only natural to be concerned about how braces may affect it. Here are some of the foods to avoid or enjoy while wearing braces.

What To Avoid Eating Immediately After Getting Braces

Like many other major dental procedures, having braces put in may require a temporary, short-lived adjustment in diet immediately following the procedure. The long-term diet changes may differ in points from the short-term ones.

When you are not yet used to chewing foods with the braces in and your teeth may still be over-sensitive, it’s recommended that you stick to soft foods. Your orthodontist will typically advise following a soft food diet for anywhere from the first three days to the first full week after the procedure.

Immediately after receiving braces, avoid foods that are hard to chew, sticky, spicy, or that have a high citrus content. Don’t eat thick meats, tough, thick rolls and bread products, or anything that requires extensive chewing. Also, do NOT indulge in ice cream for the first few days (at least) because of the high sugar content and because melted ice cream may stick to your metal braces and be tough to clean off.

“What can I eat then?” you might ask. Yogurts, soup, smooth mashed potatoes, well-cooked (soft) vegetables, fish and most seafood, pasta products, scrambled eggs, and soft fruits like avocados or grapes are good examples.

What Should I Avoid Eating Until My Braces Are Taken Off?

A super-soft diet of a very limited scope is only required during the earliest stages after having braces put on. But there are still dietary recommendations to follow throughout the time you will be wearing your new braces.

As your teeth “get used to” the braces, your diet can “expand.” And as you learn better to manage your braces and practice good oral hygiene and maintenance on them, you will become familiar with what you can safely eat or not. You will also form judgments on which foods “are worth it” so far as the post-eating cleaning efforts they will require if you choose to consume them.

Extremely hard foods and sticky ones should always be avoided with braces on your teeth. These pose too great a risk to the brackets, wires, and rubber bands in the bracing system. 

Popcorn is a big “no-no!” The same can be said of hard or chewy candies, the crust portion of pizza slices, mixed nuts, potato chips, hard fruits like apples, hard vegetables like raw carrots, bagels, corn on the cob, chewing on ice cubes, and chewing gums. Sweets in general should be kept to a minimum, and sodas should be avoided completely. Remember that sugar can mix with saliva and then coat your braces and teeth.

What Might My Diet Look Like While I Wear Braces?

There’s no need to be overly depressed over what you can’t eat or shouldn’t eat while you have braces because there are, in fact, many good food items you can still enjoy.

Fruits and vegetables you can still eat with braces include berries, soft canned pears, avocadoes, bananas, grapes, kiwis, apples that have been cooked till soft, applesauce, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, soft beans, and fully cooked carrots. (But just after a wire change or adjustment, it may be best to avoid fruits entirely.)

Bread and potato products that are braces-friendly include pasta and other noodles, soft rice, mashed potatoes or soft-boiled potatoes, soft breads or tortillas, muffins, soft biscuits, and pancakes.

“Safe” dairy products include soft cheese, scrambled eggs, yogurts, and milk. Be sure to cut up cheese into small chunks, however, or to peel apart string cheese to lower the risk of getting it stuck in your teeth.

Meats that are OK to eat with braces include fish, meatballs, deli meats, crab cakes, chicken that has been cooked till soft, soft rib meat, well-cooked pork, and soups with soft, small-cut meat in them. Avoid anything hard, stringy, full of gristle, or that is still attached to the bone.

Snacks and other foods that you can eat with braces include pudding, ice cream, shakes, jello, and peanut butter. Always drink plenty of water, especially right after a meal. 

How To Keep Your Braces In Top Shape

Following the dietary recommendations of your orthodontist is crucial to your dental health and to the success of your braces in realigning your teeth. You must learn to properly care for your braces and your teeth during treatment.

You should brush, floss, use special “picks” to clean around brackets and wires, and use an antiseptic mouth wash at least thrice daily. The best times to do it are right after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner. (But if you are having any snack times, that may require another, if smaller-scale, cleaning as well.)

You may want to chew more with your back teeth while wearing braces since it’s easier to damage the braces when chewing with the front teeth. Cut everything into small pieces. Learn the “tricks” that other patients use to make life more livable while protecting their braces and teeth!

Definitely keep all your dental appointments. You may need more frequent teeth cleanings during treatment, and your braces must be periodically cleaned and re-adjusted. If you have any special problems, don’t hesitate to contact your orthodontist about it.

Finally, we should note that there is a new braces alternative called Invisalign that uses clear, removable trays to realign misaligned teeth. If Invisalign aligners will work in your case and you prefer them, you can simply remove them before meals and put them back in place following meals.

To learn more about what kinds of adjustments braces will require to your diet and other aspects of your lifestyle, and to learn about your various options in regard to tooth realignment, contact the experts at Beauchamp Orthodontics in Central Florida today!

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