Safe Eating With Braces: Foods You Can and Can’t Eat with Braces
Getting braces is an extremely exciting time, but adjusting to the changes associated with wearing your appliance can be difficult. Braces are only effective when you care for them properly, which means some types of food should be avoided throughout the duration of your treatment. This will help you achieve the best results in the shortest time possible.
What happens if you eat the wrong foods?
Eating the wrong foods can cause some discomfort and put you at risk of breaking your brackets or wires which will require unscheduled trips to your orthodontist and may increase your total treatment time.
Additionally, if you frequently eat foods that can get stuck in your braces or are high in sugar content you will create an environment that encourages plaque and bacteria to thrive which may cause lasting damage to your teeth.
Foods to eat with braces
The best foods to eat with braces are low in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. This includes…
- Complex carbohydrates such as bread, mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, pancakes
- Soft and hearty foods like soup and stews
- Dairy foods like cheese, yoghurt and smoothies
- Fruits and vegetables cooked until soft or cut/grated into bite-sized pieces
- Meat, poultry, fish and protein-rich foods cooked until soft or tender
Foods for the first week of braces
It’s normal to feel some discomfort during the first week of getting braces as your mouth adjusts to the new appliance. During this time, you should eat soft foods such as yoghurt, boiled vegetables, soft meats, stewed fruit and thin soups to avoid putting additional pressure on your teeth, which may be feeling sensitive and tender.
Foods to avoid with braces
Anyone who wears fixed braces should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Foods to avoid with braces include…
- Chewy foods such as lollies and liquorice
- Crunchy foods such as chips and popcorn
- Sticky foods such as caramel, bubble gum and snickers
- Hard food such as nuts and pretzels
- Foods that you need to bite into forcefully such as whole apples, raw carrots and corn on the cob.
- Sugary foods such as lollies, boiled sweets
- Sweet drinks such as fruit juice, cordial, soft drinks and energy drinks
Can you eat chocolate?
Yes, you can eat chocolate with braces. However, this must be done in moderation, due to the high sugar content of chocolate. When you can, try to reach for dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate varieties.
Can you eat pizza?
Pizza lovers can still enjoy their favourite food. But they should be careful when eating the crust because it requires a lot of chewing which is not good for your braces.
Can you eat chips or fries?
Whether you like hot potato chips or thin crisps from the packet, you don’t have to give up chips when you get braces. Fries are the least risky and probably the easiest to eat when your braces are still new if your mouth is feeling a bit sensitive, as they’re soft. Though as with any soft food, removing the debris correctly is critical. Remove any leftovers with a floss tip or proxy tip, but be gentle – if some pieces do not dislodge easily, don’t force or try repeatedly as you risk damage to your braces.
Can you eat soft pretzels?
Soft pretzels, as with any other bready food is generally fine for consumption while wearing braces but should be eaten in moderation both for dental and physical health. Soft pretzels are fine for braces, so long as the debris is removed after eating. Foods with higher amounts of sugar are detrimental to the health of your teeth if left in situ.
Hard pretzels, by contrast, are a big no-no. Anything that requires a lot of force to bite through is going to be detrimental to the integrity of your braces over time and risks separating the bracket from your tooth.
Can you eat apples?
While wearing braces, an apple a day still keeps the doctor away – but only if you eat it correctly. By slicing the apple you can avoid doing damage to your brackets and wires, whereas eating it whole can put excess pressure on your braces.
Can you eat with wax on your braces?
Orthodontic wax is non-toxic and safe if accidentally consumed. It’s made for you to put in your mouth so you can definitely eat while it is applied – in fact, if you have a mouther ulcer, it may make it much easier to get through a meal without too much discomfort. If you happen to dislodge the wax while eating, simply replace it after your meal. Just be sure to rinse your mouth and brush your teeth first to ensure you’re not affixing food debris to your tooth.
Considerations for eating with braces
Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing at least twice per day to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth and gums, but it can also cause discolouration which can last a lifetime.
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