- Oral Health
Tips on Eating With Braces
Food You Can Eat with Braces
Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, midnight snacks--meals play a huge role in our lives, not only in that they add fuel to our bodies but in that they often provide quality social interaction with our friends and family. Getting braces limits what sorts of food we can eat, and that can be scary--you may ask, "Will I still be able to have my favorite things? Will I still be able to enjoy eating?" The answers to those questions are "maybe" and "definitely." Keep reading to get tips on eating with braces.
Tips on Eating Right After You Get Braces or When You Get Them Tightened
What types of food you eat once you get braces will depend on a variety of factors, including whether you've just gotten braces or have just been for an appointment and had the braces tightened. The best food to eat during this period is soft food or liquid food.
If your teeth and gums are feeling sore and tender, try:
- Protein shakes
- Oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Soggy cereal
- Stewed apples
- Fruit smoothies
- Soft pastas
- Rice dishes
If you're uncomfortable and don't feel like eating for a few days, I recommend the protein shakes and smoothie shakes as the best choices above--you'll still need proper nutrition, and being in pain is not an excuse for an unhealthy milkshake diet! Throw a few handfuls of spinach into your fruit smoothie for extra nutrients.
Make sure to watch your spoon as well--knocking it into your teeth is going to hurt.
Tips on Eating with Braces Between Appointments
In as little as 24 hours and as much as a few days after a visit to the orthodontist, your teeth and gums will no longer be sore. You may think you can eat anything at this point--but your teeth now have thousands of dollars of expensive hardware on them, and you don't want to break a bracket or snap a wire because you ate the wrong thing.
Things NOT to Eat While You Have Braces
- Potato or tortilla chips (these are crunchy and can pop a bracket or a wire)
- Popcorn (biting down on the kernels can hurt your hardware)
- Caramels or other sticky candies (they can pull off brackets)
- Apples and pears (unless they are chopped--do not bite into them!)
- Bubble gum (sugarfree gum is fine)
If you have a question about whether or not you should eat a certain food, contact your orthodontist. However, if you even have to wonder, you probably already have your answer. It may be hard to give up your favorite sweet or savory snacks, but look at it positively--you only have to give them up for a short time, and it's better for your overall health in the long-run if you kick the snack habit now.
Tips on How to Eat with Braces
Eating with braces will change how you approach food. Before, you may have grabbed that burger without a second thought. Now, biting into it might give you pause. When eating with braces, try the following to avoid broken brackets, popped wires, food stuck in your teeth, or long-term staining:
- Cut your food into smaller bites to make chewing easier
- Cut even foods you'd normally bite, like pizza or burgers--biting into things will weaken your brackets over time
- Avoid dark colas, coffee, and black tea--teeth are harder to clean with braces, so you'll have to be extra vigilent about fighting stains
- Carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you to remove small particles of food after your meals
- Chew only sugarfree gum, as this won't stick to your brackets
Eating with braces soon becomes second nature, and what little sacrifice you make is worth the long-term gain of a beautiful, healthy smile. If you don't yet have braces but feel better about getting them after I've put your food-related fears to rest, learn how to tell if you need braces and how to prepare for getting braces.