If you have just had braces applied to your teeth, you may be wondering what you can and can’t eat for the duration of your treatment. The good news is that you will be able to continue eating a large variety of foods. The bad news is that you will need to make some temporary dietary changes and eliminate certain foods while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Here is a brief guide on what you can and cannot eat with braces:
What to Eat When Your Teeth Hurt
For the first few days after having your braces applied, you may experience some soreness while your mouth adjusts. There can also be occasional soreness throughout your treatment when certain adjustments are made to your braces. During these times, it is encouraged to make a few dietary changes as a way to alleviate additional discomfort.
When your teeth are sore, it is best to eat soft foods that are easy to chew. These include mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, oatmeal, seafood, eggs, soups, pasta, and any other similar food that does not require a lot of chewing. It is also recommended to avoid foods that can further aggravate your discomfort such as ice spicy or citrus foods, thick rolls or breads, and thick cuts of meat. Additionally, you may also want to temporarily avoid ice cream because it is more likely to cause tooth sensitivity if your teeth are already sensitive.
What Not to Eat
Metal braces are great for moving your teeth and bite into proper alignment, however they are not so great when trying to eat certain foods. In fact, your orthodontist recommends avoiding certain foods with braces. This is because eating certain foods can cause brackets to fall off, wires to become loose, and other types of damage to your fixed orthodontic appliance. While you will still be able to eat a large variety of foods, here are some foods you will want to avoid completely if you have braces:
Any food that requires a significant amount of force to chew should be temporarily avoided because the process of biting or chewing these foods can break off your brackets. In some cases, these foods have even been known to chip or fracture teeth. Hard foods to avoid include nuts of all kinds, hard candy, hard crackers, ice, popcorn, and hard pretzels.
Chewy foods can also require a significant amount of force to chew and they can also become stuck in and around your braces. Not only can this damage your braces, but it can also affect your treatment and increase your risk of tooth decay. Chewy foods to avoid with braces include gum, chewy candy, pizza crust, bagels, and soft pretzels.
Foods You Need to Bite Into:
While these foods do not necessarily need to be avoided, the act of biting into them does. Instead you will need to prepare these foods so that you are not placing additional strain on the brackets and wires on the front teeth. These foods include things like apples, corn on the cob, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables.
Highly Pigmented Foods:
The concern about highly pigmented foods is more cosmetic than it is functional. Foods that contain a lot of pigment can stain the rubber bands used to keep your braces in place. Additionally, highly pigmented foods and beverages can also stain your teeth over time, which means your teeth may be uneven in color after your braces come off. Brushing your teeth after consuming these foods can help reduce tooth staining, but the rubber bands will still likely stain.
Dr. Williams is up to date with all of the latest techniques and theories in the practice of orthodontics and is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality of orthodontic care to every patient.