If you are considering getting braces for either yourself or your child, one of the first things that most likely comes to mind is what kind of foods are off-limits. You should always check with your orthodontist to ask about specifics, as individual cases can vary, but generally speaking, make sure you avoid any hard foods or sticky candies that can damage or even break the hardware. By protecting your teeth now, you can make sure that your smile stays strong for years to come.
Here’s the Deal:
The most important thing about your diet is to simply be observant as to what you’re putting in your mouth; if it seems like it might pose a problem, it’s best to use good judgment and avoid it completely. The good news is that changing your diet will become second-nature after a while, and could even have the secondary effect of creating good dietary habits that extend well beyond your teeth, and into your general health as well.
Generally speaking, there are several things that you can and should still eat while you have braces; the softer the food, the easier it is for your new hardware to handle. Things such as soft fruits (grapefruits, plums, peaches, etc) and steamed vegetables are excellent choices to get your daily nutrients. You can get your dairy from things like cottage cheese and milk, neither of which stain your teeth and also gives valuable protein that you would otherwise get from meats. Soft meats are fine, such as fish and turkey, but try to stay away from those tough sirloins and New York strips.
Eggs are another great option for protein, and pasta and tortillas – other soft grains and bread – are acceptable as well. And of course, dessert is always orthodontist approved! Remember, when it comes to food choices, one bite can destroy your smile, so it’s important to reinforce these rules with your kids or loved ones. Below is a list of some of the foods you absolutely must avoid with braces, as well as some other ones to try and avoid if possible as well.
No Can Do’s
– Chewy Candies: Taffy, caramel, and other sticky candies that can cement themselves to your metal hardware can not only damage the brackets but also stay stuck for weeks or even months at a time, leaving a nasty residue in your mouth and possibly leaving you open for oral diseases. It should go without saying that gum, in every form, is also a no-no as well.
– Hard Chocolate: Chocolate in and of itself is not destructive to your teeth, but the force that is often applied to crunch into a piece of hard chocolate can break off the metal brackets and send the hardware into your gums. The last thing you want in between your regular visits is a metal wire poking you in the mouth.
– Popcorn: Everyone’s favorite movie theatre snack should also be avoided, not only for the fact that biting into it can destroy your mouth like hard chocolate can but also because the kernels have a tendency to get stuck in between the hardware and your teeth, creating a friction that can rub on the enamel. Plus, you’ll have the constant feeling that something is in between your teeth. Nobody wants that.
– Chunky Peanut Butter: If you haven’t ever embraced creamy peanut butter, now is an excellent time to start. While the peanut butter itself isn’t the problem, the nuts that are still inside can break off the hardware, forcing you to take an unscheduled trip to get your brackets and other metal pieces fixed. The same goes for nuts, seeds, and other things that are similar.
The List goes on…
– Taco Shells and Chips: If you love Mexican food, this one might hurt a little bit. Taco shells, chips, and other fried tortilla snacks should be avoided if possible since the shells can crack and get lodged in between the hardware, as well as break off some of the brackets themselves. Substituting a softer corn tortilla shell, while difficult, maybe the best solution for the time being.
– Beef Jerky: Although beef jerky is one of the healthiest snacks you can munch on during the day (as long as you pick the right kind), tearing hard strips of meat off with your teeth is only going to hurt you in the long run, by putting extra pressure and increased tension on your hardware. Try to get smaller strips if possible, or just avoid it altogether.
– Corn on the Cob: Biting into a corn on the cob not only damages your brackets but can also deface the front part of your hardware as well, as the increased rubbing will tear away at the surface of your teeth. A good trick? Take your knife and cut the corn off the cob onto a plate, and you can still enjoy this delicious treat.
– Soda: It’s a good idea to avoid this altogether, but even more so during this time. Soda has sugar and other chemicals that can wear away your enamel and the lining of your metal, making it brittle and easily breakable. If you want to pick up a great habit that will not only serve you now but for years to come, pick this time as a good point to get rid of your sugary drinks.
It Gets Better
Having hardware in your mouth is never fun, but it’s best to look at this time as an investment: an ounce of trouble now will pay huge dividends down the road in a better smile, healthier teeth, and greater confidence. The small changes in your diet that you will make now will not only preserve your teeth for the future but will also set you up for a lifetime of improved health as well. If you have any questions about the food mentioned here or would like more advice on specifics, check with Dr. Nease and the team for help. They can provide you with all the resources you need to succeed.
Visit us today and walk away with a smile!
2455 E. Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29307
Phone: (864) 579-7700
8 Foods To Avoid [While Wearing Braces]