LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 29, 2017
Are you preparing to have braces for the next few months or years? You’re probably wondering how they’re going to affect your day-to-day life, especially when it comes to eating. One main question a lot of people have for their orthodontist is, “What kinds of foods will I be able to eat?” More importantly, though, are the types of foods you should steer clear of. Keep these tips in mind to keep your mouth healthy and happy!
Which foods should I avoid?
When you have braces or Invisalign, it’s best to stay away from the following types of foods:
- Chewy foods like licorice or bagels.
- Foods that you bite into with your front teeth, such as corn on the cob or apples.
- Sticky foods, especially gum and caramel.
- Crunchy foods like ice, potato chips, and popcorn.
- Hard foods like pizza crusts, pretzels, and cookies.
- Extra hard foods like hard candies and nuts.
Eating these foods can cause damage, which can make the treatment last longer! Also avoid chewing on anything hard, like your nails or pens. It may be time to replace those nervous habits if you’re used to biting on things when you’re anxious! In addition to being careful of certain foods and not eating them too often, the following foods are completely off-limits, no matter what:
- Hard candy
- Corn chips
- Pizza crust
- Corn on the cob
- Bubble gum
- Sticky candy, like Starburst and Gummy Bears
Which foods can I enjoy?
Now that you know which foods you should stay away from, it’s time to enjoy the foods that you can eat! The following foods are completely fine to indulge in:
- Dairy, including soft cheeses, yogurt, and pudding.
- Bread that isn’t hard, including sandwich bread, tortillas, muffins, biscuits, and pancakes.
- Grains, like soft rice, noodles, and pasta.
- Soft-cooked meats and poultry, including lunch meat and meatballs.
- Seafood, so long as it doesn’t have any bones. Enjoy tuna, crab, crab cakes and salmon.
- Veggies, like peas, yams, beans, steamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
- Soft fruits, like banana and applesauce, as well as fruit juice.
- Desserts and treats including ice cream, smoothies, cake, milkshakes and Jell-O.
- You can also eat eggs, hot dogs, chili and hamburgers!
What are some tips for eating with braces?
You should never bite into food with your front teeth, which is why you should steer clear of whole apples, pears, and other similar foods. However, even if the food isn’t hard, you should still avoid biting into it with your front teeth. For example, barbecue ribs may be soft, but biting into them with your front teeth can damage your hardware.
Just because you can’t bite into things like apples or corn on the cob, that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat them at all. Get in the habit of cutting your food into bite-sized pieces. It’s a good idea to chew with your back teeth instead of your front teeth, too. It’s especially important to chew with your back teeth if the food is extra hard.
Help for Sensitive Teeth
It’s common to have some tooth sensitivity for the few days after getting the hardware put on. Three to five days is a normal amount of time to feel some soreness and to have tender areas. Aside from avoiding certain foods, you can get some relief by rinsing your mouth with a mixture of one teaspoon of salt that’s been dissolved in eight ounces of warm water. You can also take a pain killer if the tenderness is difficult to deal. After a week or two, your teeth, tongue and cheeks will become accustomed to the new addition and they won’t be nearly as sore.
More Tips and Advice
Your orthodontist will give you advice about how to care for your new hardware. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind as well:
- For the first day, your teeth will be extra sensitive. Plus, you’ll be adjusting to the Invisalign or other hardware. Stick to soft foods for the first few days or until you get more comfortable.
- You may think that some chewy candies are okay to eat because they’re not going to break the hardware in your mouth. However, even if these foods are gentle on your teeth for now, they can slowly cause damage over time. Over time, soft, sticky foods can dislodge the hardware or even cause tooth decay.
Don’t Forget to Brush!
One of the most important steps in caring for your hardware is to brush your teeth! Brushing and flossing are especially important after an orthodontic treatment. The cleaner you’re able to keep everything, the more effective the hardware will be.
Contact an Orthodontist Today
For moderate to severe malocclusions, you will need wire or ceramic braces that are attached to your teeth and remain in place for an average of two to four years. The brackets and wires of traditional braces are designed to apply pressure against the teeth to shift teeth into the correct positions. If you require traditional braces, then you will visit an orthodontist on a regular basis to have the wires adjusted. You might need to schedule an emergency visit with an orthodontist when a wire or bracket breaks. Teenagers and adults with mild malocclusions are candidates for clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth and are easy to remove. To learn more about orthodontic braces, schedule an appointment today.
Are there foods I can’t eat with braces?
708 Elm Ave. E.
Dr. Mike McDermott is an orthodontic specialist in Brainerd, Baxter and Delano MN.