One of the toughest challenges when getting braces? Saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods, at least for a while. It takes a few weeks for your teeth to adjust to the added pressure from braces, meaning hard-to-bite or chew foods are off-limits to avoid excess strain on your gums and teeth.
Now you might be wondering: What can I actually eat with braces? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about finding the right foods to enjoy while wearing braces. Discover what to eat, what to avoid, the reasons behind these choices, and the consequences of indulging in the wrong foods. Let’s dive in!
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Eating With Braces
Embracing the world of braces means adapting to some exciting changes in your eating habits. In that first week, you might find your teeth feeling a bit sore and your bite adjusting to its new normal. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate those cravings for your usual favorites!
There are foods that can be your go-to meal anytime with braces. Then some foods are just a no-no with braces. Make sure you are clear about these lists and steer clear of foods that can break, damage, or bend your braces.
Moreover, in your pre-treatment visits, your orthodontist will hand you a list of what you can eat with braces. Remember that your food habits play a major role in determining your treatment time. You will be over with your treatment in no time if you stick to the food instructions.
How To Eat Properly With Braces
When you put on braces, holding patience is the key. You can enjoy many foods you love with your braces on after a certain point in time. Here are some tips and tricks to keep up your sleeves when eating with braces.
- Eat softer foods with small bites and cut them into tiny pieces. Always avoid bigger chunks since they will need extra bite force.
- Develop the habit of biting with the side of your mouth. Bite with your canines and bicuspids.
- Don’t chew your food fast. Go slow and chew completely. But make sure you don’t bite your tongue, cheeks, or lips, as you will feel the bite change.
Why Is It Bad To Eat The Wrong Foods With Braces?
The key is to avoid foods that could damage your brackets, wires, bands, or appliances. Not only do broken components hinder your treatment progress, but they can also wreak havoc on your orthodontic gear due to the strength of your bite.
Keep in mind that when you chew, your muscles contract to close your bite – a process known as muscle mastication. With an average bite force of 160 PSI, the most powerful chomps occur with your back molars. Sadly, orthodontists often find the most broken brackets in those very same molars, which can set your treatment back.
How Will Not Eating Braces-Friendly Food Affect My Braces Treatment?
Remember that your orthodontist puts great care into charting your treatment plan. So, if you want faster and better results, stick to it no matter what. Usually, these treatments are divided into phases or steps. If you come with a broken bracket, you prolong the process by infinite days as they would need immediate nurture and attention.
For instance, your treatment chart may ask you to wear elastics for bite corrections once you move onto the thicker-sized wire. Here, if you happen to break multiple braces, your orthodontist won’t be able to fit in the thick wire. Every time you break a bracket, your teeth will move out of alignment and would need a thin wire to get them back into the desired position.
So, while you could have finished your treatment within 6 months with the help of thick wire and elastics, you have now instead stretched the process by at least 3 months extra. Not ideal!
What Can You Eat With Braces?
Getting braces won’t hurt much. But your mouth will remain sensitive in the initial days of putting braces. Therefore, having food with a tough coating can cause immense pain. So here are the top three soft foods you can eat in the first few weeks of getting braces.
With lots of vitamins and minerals, oatmeals are vital for healthy teeth and bones. They are soft to eat, and when mixed with fruits and vegetables, can be an excellent source of energy and protein.
Smoothies are the best way to take food when you have braces. They are filling, and cold, and can also help with swelling teeth and sore gums. However, make sure you clean and floss really well after having smoothies.
Pizza With Pan Crust or Deep Dish
You may be wondering, how can pizza be on the list when it’s not so healthy? Well, pan-crust pizza is soft and less chewy, making it easier to grab a bite. However, never ever go for thin-crust ones. They are hard and can break your brackets by exerting more pressure.
Other Foods You Eat When Wearing Braces
|Foods You Can Eat||Foods to Avoid|
|Soft Fruits: Grapefruits, nectarines, kiwis, avocados, ripe peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.||Crisps: They cause a gummy material to form on the braces.|
|Soft Veggies: Cooked vegetables that are easy to chew.||Raw Celery or Carrots: They can be hard and damage braces. It’s safer to eat them cooked.|
|Dairy Products: Low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt, etc. Dairy products are soft and require very little chewing, plus they provide us with essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein.||Nuts: Hard nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews can damage braces.|
Please remember that this is a general guide and individual tolerance may vary. It’s always best to consult with your orthodontist regarding any specific dietary restrictions.
What You Can’t Eat With Braces?
Hot Nachos or Cheetos
Hot chips like Cheetos, Sabritas, Takis, Doritos, chicharrones, etc., are an absolute NO. They are crunchy. This means your teeth with braces would need to put force and crush them. When this happens, the edge of the chip may get stuck between wires and teeth and cause the brackets to break.
Worse, it can also cause the wires to bend and come out of the last bracket, causing them to poke your cheeks. The situation can get even worse if you flex your wire but it doesn’t come out of the brackets. It means, they will put unexpected force on your teeth and cause them to move in the wrong direction.
Popcorns can wreak havoc on the brackets and wires of your braces. All popcorn kernels do not pop. This means when you grab a handful, there are always chances you will eat the hard kernel portions. These unpopped kernels are strong enough to break your brackets or snap a wire.
Moreover, kernel hulls can get badly stuck under your brackets or wires. This can cause uncomfortable situations, further leading to emergency treatment. Besides, if it sticks to your gums and you don’t clean them properly, it will cause inflammation, resulting in severe damage.
Continuing the discussion about anything hard is a no-go for braces, the next on the list is hard candies. Candies are recommended quite a lot of times by orthodontists as they help prevent dryness in your mouth. But the extra sugar and the hard texture can lead to numerous repercussions.
Speaking of hard textured candies, your teeth would need extra force to cut through the candies, damaging your brackets and wires. Moreover, with candies being so sticky, they can get on the top of the brackets. If you bite down in that condition, you will have to deal with severely broken and ruined brackets.
Other Foods To Avoid With Braces
- Chewing Gum
- Bagels And Other Hard Rolls
- Hard Crackers
- Pizza Crust
- Crunchy Vegetables And Fruits
What To Do If a Wire or Band Comes Loose?
When you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a broken bracket or wire, resist the urge to pull or bend it. Not only will you risk causing more pain, but you’ll also complicate matters and disrupt your treatment progress. Don’t try to be your own orthodontist or simply ignore the issue – make an appointment with your orthodontist right away. In the meantime, you can provide some relief by placing wet cotton or orthodontic wax over the sharp edge.
Through this blog, we have covered one of the most vital questions for all braces users: What can you eat with braces? Long story short, do not go near any hardy, sticky, chewy, and gooey food. Hard foods put extra pressure on your teeth and can damage brackets and wires. The rest can get stuck between wires and brackets, forcing them to come out.
So, ensure you chew slowly and stick to soft foods only. Besides, do not overlook the significance of a healthy dental routine. Brush and floss every day to keep those wires free of plaque buildup and decay. And use a fluoride mouthwash to give your teeth endurance. Finally, make sure you go for regular cleanups and checkups with your orthodontist to keep complexities at bay.
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.