When getting your regular braces adjustment or at an appointment for tightening braces, especially the first time, one thing that individuals often get told is that they need to watch what they eat. This can sometimes be a huge letdown as not only do you have to wear a potentially uncomfortable orthodontic appliance but now you need to know what not to eat with braces. However, this oftentimes will lead to the question, especially after hearing the list of all the things you are not allowed to eat, and that is what foods to eat with braces?
Knowing what to eat with braces, how to eat with braces, and what not to eat with braces can all help you know how to take care of your braces. If you eat the wrong foods, not only can you gum up your braces but you can also potentially damage them. This can make you need to get your braces tightened more often and getting braces tightened means more orthodontic appointments.
If you’ve already been eating the wrong foods, then you may even feel that things may not quite be right. Or, you might be curious and asking the question how are braces tightened? Tightening braces, by the way, is a bit of a misnomer. It is actually the wire being adjusted – the brackets don’t move.
The simple fact is eating the wrong foods can sometimes put undue stress and wear on your braces, especially if you’re eating things that are gummy or pull on the wire. With that in mind then, what are some of the best foods you can eat and how can you still enjoy your favorite foods even while having orthodontic work done?
What to eat with braces – old foods, new way
According to Maheshwari et al., (2017), one thing that is important to avoid when you’re having braces tightened or after they are first installed is hard or crispy food. Foods like apples or others that are hard and require a deep bite oftentimes interfere with your orthodontic appliances. This can be a huge hassle and sometimes even painful if you’re not paying attention. For individuals who have spent their entire life not having to worry about the way they bite food, you will soon notice all sorts of ways in which your braces may start to get in the way.
Being mindful about the way that you eat can help make this process easier with less frustration. Hard foods like apples or corn on the cob that require deep bites need to be avoided. The downside to this is that avoiding certain foods may cause nutrient deficiencies (Maheshwari et al., 2017). However just because you need to avoid these foods in their present form does not mean you cannot enjoy them while you have your braces. Corn for instance can be taken off of the cob and then eaten with a spoon or fork. Apples can be sliced into apple slices or made into applesauce which is far better for braces and your overall comfort.
What not to eat with braces
When it comes to what can you not eat with braces, some foods forever simply need to be avoided to the best of your ability. This can include things like anything gummy, such as taffy, caramel, popcorn, or potato chips. Anything that will be hard and likely to create a buildup or lodge in your braces also needs to be avoided.
Sometimes you can get around the issue as mentioned previously by preparing things in a new way or trying them in a new way than you have previously.According to Singh N et al. (2017), a balanced diet is required for effective orthodontic treatment. If there are some hard foods that you like, try them boiled or find a way to soften them. Softening your foods will be far better for your orthodontic appliances and for your teeth. Since the braces are going to be helping pull your teeth into new positions, you want to make sure that your dietary habits do not hinder that progress and mean that you have to have your braces on for longer.
Try new foods to eat with braces
If you find that unfortunately some of your favorite foods end up being on the no-go list, it can make getting braces an even sorer subject. However, we can also choose to look at the glass half full. One thing that can make a huge difference is to think about all the foods that you could try that you have never tried previously. Make yourself a food list of all the food items that you always wanted to try and never have.
Perhaps you always wanted to try a passion fruit or other fruits that are softer and they can replace the crispier fruits that you’re used to? Maybe instead of hard candies or foods that you can no longer eat you can go to a world market and try out some snack foods from around the world that might be better for your orthodontics. In this way, you can make having braces less of a bothersome inconvenience to your own personal diet and use it as a chance to find out all the foods that you enjoy eating and make it a culinary adventure instead of a drag.
Looking on the bright side of braces adjustment
Although it maybe frustrating that many of your favorite foods are no longer allowed, there are huge amounts of food that are still well within your sphere of enjoyment. For instance, cake as a dessert is not just for birthdays anymore. If you want to be bold, trying some international pastries or desserts can also make it more fun, like toffee pudding from the UK.
You can also have any number of soft cereals such as oatmeal, cornmeal mush, soups, pastas, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes – anything and everything that can be eaten softly or liquefied are all great options when it comes to helping you enjoy your eating experience even with a somewhat restricted diet.
With so many different tasty options from seafood to cheesecake and many foods in the world you have not tried, make your braces time an adventure. Talk with your orthodontist about any suggestions they have for unique, creative, or fun ways to be able to enjoy your food better. Life doesn’t stop just because you need orthodontic work done and just because you have braces does not mean you cannot be enjoying every bite of every meal.
Summary – When you get braces, one of the most important things your orthodontist will let you know about is how to take care of your braces. This is important because without proper care and maintenance, your orthodontic treatment will be prolonged, and you will end up spending more money and time with appointments. If, on the other hand, you take good care of your braces, they will serve you well and last a long time.
There are definitely some things you can eat and others you should not eat while you have your braces on. In addition to guidelines on what foods you should avoid, your orthodontist will recommend ways to maintain your braces, such as cleaning your braces and maintaining good oral hygiene and dental health.
In general, you want to avoid foods that are sticky, hard, and chewy. Hard foods can damage the brackets and wires, while sticky foods can be hard to remove from your braces and can lead to a build-up of plaque and tartar. These can lead to toothdecay and other dental problems.
Navneet Singh, Priyank Rai, Tulika Tripathi, & Prateek Gupta. (2017). Nutrition and Orthodontics-Interdependence and Interrelationship. Journal of Dental Sciences. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322027256_Nutrition_and_orthodontics_Interdependence_and_interrelationship/link/5a3ea27aa6fdcce1970b28e0/download
Sandhya Maheshwari, Mohd. Tariq, Aditi Gaur, & Jiju M. (2017). A systematic nutritional and dietary guideline for orthodontic and orthognathic surgery patients. Indian Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Research,3(3), 136–140. https://doi.org/10.18231/2455-6785.2017.0027