Two weeks ago, we discussed why braces hurt and various ways to minimize the discomfort. Part of the process involves eating soft foods for a few days after braces are applied or adjusted. However, even after the discomfort ends you will need to adjust your eating habits and diet. It will also be important to eat foods that help keep your teeth healthy. So, what can you eat? Is there anything to eat that helps your teeth stay healthy?
First, the process of chewing on the wrong types of foods is likely to damage your braces. This can lead to additional visits to the orthodontist so that the broken bracket or wires can be repaired. Treatment time will definitely be extended because the braces and wires create the necessary forces needed to work together to move your teeth. When the process is interrupted, treatment progress is delayed. In addition, a bent or broken wire can negatively affect the tooth movements which will also extend your treatment time.
Second, eating certain candies and snacks high in sugar or acid will welcome harmful bacteria and that will increase your risk of decay. The more you eat and drink sugary foods, the more important it is to brush frequently between meals. If you don’t brush frequently, the sugary foods and acidic sodas and juices create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria between your braces and teeth. The more time the sugars, acids, and bacteria stay on your teeth the greater your risk for decay. In addition, if you don’t remove the plaque and food debris, you are also at risk for decalcification, which is white marks that are like permanent scars on your teeth.
No matter how healthy your diet is, you still need to practice great oral hygiene. If you keep your teeth clean, they will move into position more quickly. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, floss every day, and maintain your regularly scheduled visits with the dentist. If you are in a situation where brushing isn’t possible, be sure to drink water after eating to rinse food away from your teeth and braces.
For a few days after getting braces applied or adjusted you are probably going to want soft foods, cold drinks, and healthy smoothies. While it sounds fun to live on milkshakes for a few days, that isn’t the healthiest option.
Soft fruits such as melons and bananas are great for you and, if you refrigerate them, they can help ease your initial discomfort. Additionally, you could chill applesauce or canned fruit. Just be sure to avoid the varieties that have a ton of added sugar.
Smoothies are an excellent option. You can add a wider variety of fruits and vegetables that may be too crunchy for braces and even add in protein powder, Greek yogurt or a nut butter to add protein and healthy fat which will help you stay full for longer. We have provided a few delicious smoothie recipes below.
Healthy soups like chicken noodle, chicken tortilla or vegetable beef are nutritious possibilities. You can dip soft bread into them or sprinkle bite-size pieces of crackers on top, so they soften up before you chew them.
Scrambled eggs are another delicious, healthy choice. You can keep it plain or add cheese, spices, or hot sauce to make them more flavorful and nutritious. Eggs are a perfect soft food any way you want to cook them. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, they also help keep your teeth healthy.
Once the discomfort fades away, you will probably want to go back to eating your usual favorites. While you will need to modify the way you eat so you don’t damage your braces, you don’t need to eliminate all your favorites on the list of foods to avoid. Many of these foods can actually be eaten if you avoid biting into things with your front teeth and cook them until they are soft or cut them into small pieces so you can chew with your back teeth.
For example, a sandwich or pizza would be very difficult to eat with braces, but if you cut them into bite-sized pieces it would be much easier. Cutting or tearing foods into small pieces will allow you to enjoy the foods you love and make it easier to bite and to chew.
Eating with braces doesn’t have to be boring. Here are three example days of healthy meals that you can eat without damaging your braces. Even some desserts are okay for you to eat!
We want your experience with braces to go as smoothly as possible. At Jungle Roots, we offer a complimentary orthodontic consultation where we will answer any questions you have, and you can also contact us at any time during your treatment with questions or concerns. To help you out, we have included some delicious smoothie recipes and a list of foods that are safe to eat with braces, and foods that are best to avoid. Happy Eating!
1 large banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup ice
2 tbsp. peanut butter (preferably natural)
2 tsp. honey (optional)
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup frozen chopped mango
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
3/4 cup frozen peaches
1/2 of 1 medium banana, frozen
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.