Navigating your meal choices with braces can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little knowledge and some smart choices, you can enjoy a diverse range of foods without compromising your orthodontic care. Let’s break down the best and worst food choices for those sporting braces.
Special Consideration: Braces the First Week
Your braces are very strong. They are designed to stay on your teeth the entire time of your orthodontic treatment. By following the simple guidelines below, you can minimize breakage and maximize treatment. For the first day or so, stick to soft foods until you get used to chewing with braces. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Even when you get completely used to chewing and eating with braces, you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for the duration of treatment.
Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day
Kickstart your day with a braces-friendly breakfast that is both delicious and gentle on your orthodontic hardware.
- Smoothies: These nutrient-dense powerhouses are not only easy on your braces but also packed with a variety of fruits and vegetables for a healthful start.
- Scrambled Eggs: Soft, protein-packed and versatile, scrambled eggs are excellent for those with braces.
- Yogurt: Be it Greek or regular, yogurt offers a wealth of calcium and probiotics, fortifying your oral health.
Foods to Avoid:
- Crunchy Cereals: These can potentially damage your brackets and wires. Opt for softer cereals or oatmeal.
- Hard Fruits: Biting into hard fruits like apples or pears may harm your braces. Consider slicing them or incorporating them into a smoothie.
Lunch and Dinner – Fueling Up Right
When lunch and dinner roll around, remember the mantra – soft, chewable foods are your best friends.
- Pasta: An excellent energy source, cooked pasta is soft and gentle on your braces.
- Fish: Not only is fish soft and flaky, but it’s also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, promoting overall health.
- Soups and Stews: These warm comfort foods are braces-friendly and offer an array of nutrients.
Foods to Avoid:
- Hard Tacos: The hard shell can potentially break your braces. Choose soft tacos instead.
- Crusty Bread: This can be too hard on your braces. Opt for softer bread types.
Snacks – Nourishing Your Cravings
Snacking with braces can seem challenging, but plenty of options are both safe and satisfying.
- Cheese: Soft cheeses are a great snack, offering calcium and protein.
- Puddings and Jell-o: These sweet treats won’t harm your braces and can fulfill your sugar cravings.
- Hummus and pita bread: This savory combination offers protein, fiber, and healthy fats
- Soft fruit (like bananas, berries, and kiwi): These fruits are not only tasty but also packed with nutrients like vitamin C and fiber. Cut them into small pieces for easier eating with braces.
Foods to Avoid:
- Popcorn: Kernels can get lodged in your braces, causing potential damage.
- Nuts: Their hardness can break or loosen brackets and wires.
- Crunchy Chips (like corn chips, Doritos & Fritos): These snacks can also damage braces and cause discomfort.
- Beef Jerky: Its tough texture can damage braces.
- Hard or Sticky Candy (taffy, caramels, suckers, Jolly Ranchers & gummy bears): These treats are a major no-no for braces as they can get stuck and cause damage.
- Soda & Sugary Drinks: Not only harmful to your overall health, but the high sugar content can weaken tooth enamel because they’re extremely acidic! It is recommended that you avoid soft drinks during your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth stay healthy and strong, and you finish your treatment with a good bite and a healthy, beautiful smile. Stick with water or unsweetened tea instead.
Other Factors for Keeping Your Teeth and Braces Healthy
Brushing and Flossing: It is important to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces. Food particles can easily get stuck around the brackets and wires, leading to plaque build-up and potential cavities. Be sure to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. At True North, we provide our patients with an oral hygiene care package that includes all th adjuncts needed to care for their new braces, including a travel toothbrush and handy travel bag for bringing items to school or work.
Regular Dental Visits: Even with diligent brushing and flossing, it is still important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. They can spot any potential issues early on and make sure your teeth stay healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Mouthguards: If you participate in sports or other physical activities, it is important to wear a mouthguard to protect your braces from any impact or injury. At True North Orthodontics, we provide our patients with high quality Sisu brand mouthguards for use during orthodontic treatment. This is included in treatment and not an extra charge. It is important that patients use a mouthguard labeled “for use during orthodontic treatment” or “for use with braces” rather than a regular boil and bite mouthguard or a custom fit mouthguard.
Avoid Chewing on Non-Food Items: Chewing on objects such as pens, pencils, or ice can damage your braces and prolong your treatment. Stick to eating food with your teeth and avoid using them as tools.
Use Orthodontic Wax: If you experience any discomfort or irritation from the brackets or wires rubbing against your lips
As you now know, having braces means making some adjustments in your diet. Foods that were once easy to eat may now pose challenges due to the presence of brackets and wires. Remember, braces are a temporary phase in your journey towards a radiant smile. Soon enough, you’ll be back to your regular diet, enjoying the foods you had to avoid with braces. Until then, enjoy discovering new, braces-friendly food options!