You or your teen is getting braces. It’s a big investment, both in time and money. And while there’s excitement about the result, you’re wondering how it’s going to affect your life. For example, can you still eat the foods you love? The good news is mostly yes, with some alterations. Here, we’ll share with you what you can eat, how you eat them and a few food items you should completely avoid.
Foods You Can Eat With Braces
Braces have brackets and wires – places and things for food to get caught up in. If you're not careful, this can lead to broken wires or decay. It's important to be knowledgeable about foods and how they'll affect your braces. On a positive note, you’re not that limited on what you can eat, but there are some things to consider.
Here’s a list of foods you can eat with braces:
- Bread - most types of bread are fine but avoid bread with nuts. Also, if you’re eating bagels or bread with a hard or chewy crust, it’s wise to cut it into smaller bites
- Dairy - this includes cheese, milk and yoghurt
- Grains - such as rice, pasta and oatmeal
- Protein - including eggs, chicken, beef, tofu, fish and pork
- Vegetables and fruits - when eating apples or carrots or other hard fruits or vegetables, it’s important to cook or cut raw ones into slices or smaller bites
After you first get your braces on and with each visit to the orthodontist, your mouth will probably be sore. You can still eat the foods you enjoy, but make sure that they are small bites and soft to avoid pain or damage to your braces.
Braces are intricate but strong. They consist of small brackets cemented to each tooth and connected by wire and create pressure to realign your teeth. There are some foods that braces don’t get along with because they get stuck in the braces and can even bend the wires. Here are some foods (some in certain forms) that you and your braces should avoid:
- Popcorn (because of the kernels)
- Tortilla chips
- Caramel and other types of sticky candy
It is best if you avoid eating corn on the cob (better to take the kernels off with a utensil before eating) and don’t bite directly into an apple (have it sliced up instead). Additionally, you shouldn’t eat too many sugary foods or drinks. Sugar leads to plaque build-up on your braces, causing decay. Also, chewing gum isn’t recommended and can be challenging with braces on the teeth.
Caring for your teeth while you have braces will take some extra attention.
For example, there’s a special way to brush and floss (also referred to as interdental cleaning). Brush the gum line at a 45-degree angle to start and then angle down from the top of the bracket while you brush. Repeat the process from the bottom of the bracket while angling up. You will need to use a threader when you floss.
You can have braces and still eat many of the foods you enjoy. You may not have to give something up; you may just need to change the way you eat it. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Practice good oral care at home and keep up with your dental and orthodontist appointments. Your braces and your future smile, thank you.