When you are wearing braces, nothing feels quite as important as what kinds of food you can eat. The wrong food can damage your braces or stain your teeth, particularly berries, curry sauce, or grape juice. Protecting your new bands, archwires, and brackets along with your teeth and gums quickly rises to the top of your priority list!
Your teeth are vulnerable when you eat a lot of sugary and starchy foods because they produce plaque acid that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Your braces make it easier to trap food particles between them and your teeth, so it goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) that brushing and flossing are more important than ever in braces! Cavities are bad enough, but plaque and tartar can also leave your teeth with unsightly stains on areas that were not covered by braces.
Foods to Avoid
Sticky foods easily collect onto your braces and are nearly impossible to get out of. Caramel, jelly beans, licorice, taffy, toffee, and other sticky, hard candies can break off brackets. Gummy candy can bend your archwires and become trapped under the braces attachments. Chewing gum can get trapped in between all of your wires and is almost impossible to get off.
There are other foods so hard they can break your brackets and wires; toffee bits can break brackets and bands, and fibrous meat from the bone like chicken wings and ribs can even pop off a bracket. Beef jerky, pizza crust, chunky nuts and seeds, and raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower) require a strong biting force, which can ultimately harm braces. Steam or cook your veggies, and if you’re eating hard crusty bread like bagels, soften it with a soup or sauce and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
There is also a small list of inedibles that can damage braces, so keep them away from your teeth! Ice is the most common reason brace components sustain damage, so don’t chew it. Even chewing absentmindedly on pens and pencils, paper clips (yikes!), and biting your fingernails can cause damage to braces. The main goal is to keep your braces and smile safe, align your teeth, and not prolong your time wearing them.
Foods to Eat
Eat a balanced diet so that your teeth are healthy and strong when your braces come off and get your daily requirements of protein, calcium, vitamins, iron, and fiber. Soft textured foods are always good for your braces, particularly right after your braces are tightened.
– Soft fruit: ripe pears, nectarines, tangerines, kiwis, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, applesauce, and fruit that is diced and chewed with the molars
– Vegetables: steamed or cooked vegetables keep your smile healthy
– Dairy: low-fat milk, yogurt, smoothies, and soft cheeses feel good in your mouth
– Eggs: scrambled, hard-boiled, sunny-side up, or made into omelets are “eggs-cellent” choices
– Meat: tender choices like meatloaf, fish, chicken, and turkey or tofu are healthy and safe
– Grains: soft-textured grains like pasta, rice or quinoa are good for you
– Soft bread: muffins, pancakes, tortillas, and biscuits are gentle on your chompers
If your braces-friendly foods seem bland or boring, mix things up a bit and find recipes that will help keep your taste buds and your teeth happy. Be mindful with the holidays coming up as many traditional favorites (candied apples, peanut brittle and candy canes) are bad for your teeth and braces! Give our orthodontic team a call if you have any questions.