Getting braces can be an exciting time, but it can also lead to a lot of questions. One of the most common questions patients have is, “what can I eat with braces?” While there are some food restrictions with braces, you’ll find that you can still eat many of the foods you enjoy now. As for the rest, you will have to forego them, but only temporarily. In the end, patients find it’s worth giving up popcorn or gum for a couple of years when they see their amazing new smiles!
What can you eat with braces? What foods should you avoid? What foods are best to eat during the first week with braces when you may experience some discomfort?
These are questions everyone scheduled to get braces asks and we’ll answer them here today.
Can I Eat Normally the First Week I Get Braces?
Your teeth and gums may be a bit sensitive the first week after your braces are put into place. That’s because your teeth are suddenly being commanded to move after sitting still since they erupted. Because of this,you’ll want to stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods temporarily. These can help lessen your overall discomfort and help you get used to eating with braces.
As the days pass, your teeth sensitivity will slowly improve and go back to normal. Using your own comfort level as a guide, you can slowly start to go back to your usual diet or add some harder foods to your meals.
What Should I Not Eat While in Braces?
Once you’re back to a normal menu, you may want to snack on those old favorites. The problem is that some of those old favorites may damage your new braces. While your brackets are cemented tightly to your teeth, they can still break off if impacted by hard foods. You can also pull or break a wire from something chewy.
The number one type of food to avoid while in braces is anything hard and crunchy. This means no more chomping on hard candy or tortilla chips for a while, but it can also mean temporarily giving up foods you bite into with your front teeth, such as apples, raw carrots, or pears. However, you can slice up or cook fruits and vegetables and eat them that way. Baked apples, anyone?
Here are other hard, crunchy, and chewy foods to avoid while wearing braces:
- Hard candies
- Gummies and sticky candies
- Hard nuts like almonds
- Hard or chewy rolls or bread, like sourdough or bagels
- Thick cuts of meat
- Meat jerky
- Corn on the cob, though corn off the cob is okay
What Can I Eat While in Braces?
Once people find out what they CAN’T eat with braces, the next question is usually, “what CAN I eat with braces?” The answer is simple — anything else! Potatoes, cheese, eggs, pasta, cut-up meats, sliced fruits, cooked vegetables — the menu is vast! You can still enjoy many of your favorite foods with braces.
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Peanut butter
- Boiled, steamed, or soft vegetables
- Soft fruits, like bananas
- Sliced fruits
- Pudding, souffle, and soft desserts
- Soft cheese, like mozzarella, feta, and cream cheese
- Sliced or chopped meats
- Soft tacos (avoid the crunchy ones)
- Pizza (avoid the crust)
Good Dental Habits with Braces
Aside from eating the right types of food, it is also important to maintain good dental habits. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash becomes even more important. You need to pay extra attention to the areas around your braces to make sure you brush away any and all traces of food.
It’s also important to be more gentle with teeth and gums when brushing your teeth. Just as hard food can hurt your teeth and braces, so does aggressive brushing or hard toothbrush bristles.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Manual ones are OK, but electric ones work better. Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day. A floss threader can help you get your floss over and under your brace’s wires. A good fluoride mouthwash can reach areas your brushing and flossing may not reach. Be sure not to eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after using the mouthwash, so the fluoride has time to take effect.
Reach out to Smith Orthodontics for more recommendations on what to eat and what not to eat with braces. They can also provide you with other helpful tips to help make your brace experience more enjoyable.
In time, you can go back to your regular diet once your braces are off. By that time, you’ll be left with a perfect smile and memories of your time in braces.