Best Foods to Eat with Braces—and What to Avoid
Once your braces have been attached to your teeth, you’ll need to get adjusted to the change in your smile. However, in order to get the best results from your braces, you’ll also need to ensure you’re taking care of them. Adjusting eating habits while you’re wearing braces will allow them to remain undamaged as they align your teeth. The good news is that your diet will be far from boring.
What to Expect
Once your braces have been put on by your family orthodontist, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort for the next 24 to 72 hours. You’re also likely to experience discomfort after going into your orthodontist for the adjustment of braces. During these times, it’s best to eat only soft foods, as they will be the most comfortable for you to chew and won’t place additional pressure on your teeth.
If you’re a person who prefers to begin your day with breakfast, your morning meal can begin with eggs, which are nice and soft. You might want to hold off on the bacon for now, though, as it might be a bit tough to chew. Pancakes are another breakfast food you can enjoy, along with French toast, which can be enjoyed with or without the crust.
Yogurt is another very easy-to-eat food that is both nutritious and delicious. With so many flavors, you never have to worry about getting bored with this ideal breakfast food. Oatmeal, soft toast, and breakfast cereals that can be softened by milk are also ideal choices for mornings.
If you enjoy a side dish with your lunches or dinners, you’ll be happy to know there are many that you can eat as you wear your braces. Rice and pasta, as well as mashed potatoes and peas, are all soft side dishes that you can enjoy.
Mashed potatoes are an especially versatile food; you can have them with some butter on one day, and then add some cheese the next. You can also bake them and place a dollop of sour cream on top. The skin might be a bit chewy, however, so maybe it’s best to share that part with someone else.
Sweet potatoes are even softer, not to mention lower in carbs and calories. These can also be tasty when butter or cheese is added.
Cooked vegetables are very soft and easy to eat as well. You can boil them, and baking or steaming will lock in nutrients. Speaking of vegetables, squash can be incredibly soft and nutritious when baked.
There is also a variety of the kinds of main dishes you can eat while wearing braces. Soup is a great main dish to eat in the first few days of getting braces, as it requires little to no chewing and can provide lots of nutrition as well. Clear broth can be delicious, and you can also spice it up by adding other soft foods like pasta and steamed or boiled vegetables. You can even add potatoes for a delicious and filling meal.
You can enjoy having meat with your meals, if it’s softer meat like poultry, lunch meat, or meatballs, all of which being very easy to chew. If you need something that’s a bit easier on your teeth, fish can be the solution. It’s also easy to cook and, no matter if you fry, boil, or bake it, you can eat it without any pain.
Fruits and Ice Cream
Our bodies need fruit for complete nutrition. Bananas offer a way for you to get your daily fruit without having to worry about discomfort. Other soft fruits include blueberries and ripe pears and peaches. Not only does fruit make for a delicious dessert on its own, but it can also be added to yogurt or cottage cheese for a healthy snack or breakfast.
If you want to sweeten up your dessert a little, then you’ll be happy to know that you can enjoy a bowl of ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert. These desserts are not only delicious but cold temperature can be a sweet way to soothe sore gums, lips, and cheeks in the first few days following the installation of your braces or after any adjustments.
Considerations and Foods to Avoid
There are some foods which aren’t the greatest for teeth. Because sugar turns to acid when it mixes with the saliva in your mouth, it’s important to try to eat low-sugar foods whenever possible. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a bowl of ice cream occasionally; you just need to ensure you clean your teeth and braces thoroughly afterward.
There are also a few hard foods that you’ll want to avoid while you’re wearing braces. These include nachos, tacos, and hard fruits like apples or unripe peaches and pears. Because they contain small seeds that can get under braces, fruits like blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries should be avoided or consumed with caution.
Some raw vegetables should also be avoided; these include carrots, broccoli, and corn on the cob. They require a lot of bite pressure and chewing, which can cause discomfort and hit the wires and brackets on braces, causing them to come loose and require adjustment. The same is true of hard candies and nuts. Peanut or almond butter can be an ideal replacement, and you can also grind nuts or seeds in a food processor before eating.
Popcorn is one of the worst foods you can eat while wearing braces, according to orthodontic specialists. This is because their kernels can become wedged in gums between wires and under brackets. If not removed, they can cause pain and swelling in the gums, and they may require complete removal of wires and braces in order to clean these areas.
Chewy and sticky foods should also be avoided. French bread, licorice, chewing gum, and caramel are just a few examples. Chips, pretzels, and hard candy like lollipops are crunchy foods to avoid.
Chewing on other items like ice cubes and pens should also be avoided, as should biting your nails and smoking—this can cause staining underneath wires and brackets.
Maintenance Tips for Healthy Teeth
Keeping teeth clean is very important all the time, including while wearing braces. Give teeth a thorough brushing every time you eat. Rinse your mouth with clean water if you can’t brush right away. Brush with toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, brushing around all the parts of your braces and teeth. When done, your braces should look shiny and clean, and the edges of your brackets should be clearly visible.
You should floss your teeth each night before bed. Use waxed floss with a floss threader, which will allow you to get between teeth and braces more easily. Flossing should involve sliding the floss up into the gum line before going to the next pair of teeth.
Another tip for healthy teeth is to get orthodontic care regularly. Doing so will help the orthodontist keep track of your progress, as well as spot any troublesome areas.
Top-Quality Orthodontic Care
Getting braces will change how you eat and how your teeth look, and it can take up to two years for teeth to become comfortable in their new position. If you’re looking for the best orthodontist, consider Labbe Family Orthodontics. We can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the best braces for you, as well as provide education about the entire process.
We treat patients like family in each of our locations in Greenbelt, Bowie, Crofton/Gambrills, and Annapolis. Claim your complimentary orthodontic consultation, which includes the creation of a detailed care plan. Just call 443-603-3448 to discover why life is better with a smile.
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