So, you’ve been told that you need to wear orthodontic braces to correct the alignment of your teeth and bite and give you the best smile possible. This is great news since braces are extremely successful and, once treatment is complete, you’ll have more confidence in your smile than ever before. However, wearing braces does mean that you’ll have to make some compromises during treatment. One of these will be what you can and can’t eat.
This probably isn’t surprising. After all, the difficulties with eating and wearing braces are well documented. If you know anyone with braces, they’ve probably said to you about the need to change their diet. You may have even seen it first-hand. Your orthodontist will undoubtedly provide information about what you should and shouldn’t eat as part of your guidance for how to take care of your braces. In the meantime, we’ve got the lowdown on what foods to eat and what to avoid when you get your braces fitted.
Despite being made from either metal, ceramic or a combination of the two, orthodontic braces are very fragile. They also need to remain completely intact for them to work properly. Unfortunately, many breaks that occur from eating the wrong foods aren’t always immediately visible, meaning that you could go for weeks between appointments with a damaged brace that isn’t working properly.
However, it’s not just damage to your braces that you need to worry about. As you might expect, brushing and flossing your teeth is particularly challenging when you wear braces, as it can be extremely difficult to negotiate around the brackets, wires and elastics. This means that people who wear braces are more likely to experience decay and gum disease, which could mean that your teeth are in poor condition at the end of your treatment. This is especially true if you eat foods that are likely to get stuck in the tiny crevices of your teeth and around your braces.
It doesn’t matter what type of orthodontic braces you have; you should avoid the following foods.
Unsurprisingly, sticky foods are the enemy of orthodontic braces. They will stick to the brackets, wrap around the wires and are very difficult to remove, even with a firm toothbrush. Avoid sticky toffees, candy, cake, popcorn and anything else that has a tacky texture – your orthodontist will thank you!
Whenever you eat anything hard, it puts pressure onto your teeth. If you are wearing braces, it will put pressure onto these too. Over time, this could lead to the braces weakening and becoming more susceptible to breaking. Examples of hard foods to avoid include overcooked bread, rock cakes, well cooked, chewy meat, crackers, nuts and ice cubes.
Some raw fruits and vegetables are very hard too, so avoid biting directly into things like uncooked carrots, corn, apples and pears. Instead, cut them into smaller, bite size pieces that you can chew directly.
If you have clear braces, which are usually chosen for discretion, you will also have to take special care to make sure you don’t eat or drink anything that could stain them. This includes:
Sauces like soy, ketchup or mustard
Soft or alcoholic drinks containing colorants
It can take a good few weeks to get used to wearing your braces, and especially eating with them on. Your mouth may feel a little sore and uncomfortable too. For this reason, your orthodontist may recommend that you have a primarily soft food diet until you do. Some of the things that are ideal to eat while you are wearing braces include:
Soft paste and rice
For more advice on what and what not to eat when wearing braces, call Ofir Orthodontics at (562) 396-9820 to reach our office in Downey, California.