Dental health can impact your overall health, but orthodontic care is one thing that adults don’t think about until it’s too late. Just like your hair, teeth are essential to the way you look and feel. Most people who have braces see a significant improvement in how their teeth look and function. But what foods should you avoid with braces?
How Do Braces Affect Eating?
In the early stages of orthodontic treatment, you may have some trouble eating. You may need to make some changes in your diet and eating habits. Most people will have problems with sticky foods such as:
- Peanut butter
- Chewy foods
- Soft cheese
It is also common to have a sore mouth and loose teeth at first. If your mouth is sore, try cold foods and drinks. Avoid hot liquids and spicy foods that can irritate your mouth during this time. You should also avoid hard foods such as nuts, raw carrots, and ice cubes. The temporary changes in your eating habits will make it easier to keep your teeth clean. They will also help prevent you from damaging the braces or having them slip out of place. Once your mouth has adjusted to the braces, you can normally eat again. However, you may need to continue some particular care habits. For example, you should still avoid sticky foods that can get caught between the brackets and wires.
How Long After Getting Braces Can You Eat Solid Food?
The time you must wait before eating solid food after getting braces varies. Your orthodontist will tell you how long to wait and what types of foods are best for your mouth. Some people can eat solid food as soon as they get their braces on, while others have to wait a few weeks or months. Most people can start with hard foods such as:
After a few weeks or months of waiting, you can try more solid foods, such as:
- Pizza crusts
You may have to wait longer if you have a removable appliance or wires. After that time, the only food you should eat is soft foods like those listed above.
List of Foods to Avoid with Braces
Whether you’re in the process of getting braces put on or have had them freshly put on, you need to know which foods not to eat with braces.
1. Popcorn Kernels and Peanuts
These two foods are notorious for getting stuck in braces. The best way to avoid this is to either not eat them or carefully remove the pieces from your mouth after eating them. Also, braces can get caught in the crevices of these foods, causing them to bend or break.
2. Soda and Energy Drinks
Another category to avoid is sugary drinks, like soda, and sports drinks. These might seem harmless, but they can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause discoloration. This is true whether or not you have braces, but it’s essential if you have braces because the brackets can trap these types of drinks in your mouth. Instead of drinking soda or energy drinks, choose water instead.
3. Tough Meat and Beef Jerky
It is important to remember that tough meats are going to be very difficult for you to chew and will often require a lot of force, which could damage your braces or even cause them to come out. That is why it is recommended that you only eat tough meats with a lot of fat on them. This will help to lubricate the meat and make it easier to chew. If you have trouble chewing your food, you should be eating more lean cuts of meat.
4. Crunchy Vegetables
Crunchy vegetables will destroy your braces. Avoid vegetables like:
- Corn on the cob
5. Hard Chewy Candy and Gummies
Chewing on these kinds of treats can damage braces and cause your mouth to become irritated. That’s because the stickiness of the food can get stuck in between the tiny spaces of your braces, and pulling these treats out can loosen or even break parts of the braces.
6. Hot and Spicy Foods
Eating hot and spicy foods can also damage your braces. If you eat something too hot, the extreme temperature can cause a chemical reaction in your mouth, which will damage the enamel on your teeth.
7. Hard Bread (Croutons)
Bread that is too hard such as croutons can be damaging to your braces. These foods are very hard on your teeth, which means they’re very hard on your braces. If you want to avoid damaging your braces, stay away from these types of foods.
8. Frozen Foods
This is a tough one. You might be thinking, “I love ice cream!” And that’s fine. But eating ice cream can damage your braces if you don’t eat it correctly. Avoid taking large bites of the ice cream, and avoid putting the ice cream in your mouth for long periods.
9. Whole Apples
While you have your braces on, the best way to eat an apple is to cut it into slices and then cut it into smaller pieces. Sticking to eating apple slices is the best way to prevent damage to your braces.
Though they seem soft and harmless, they can cause a lot of damage to the wires on your braces. They’re hard enough to leave lasting marks, and their stickiness makes them hard to clean off of brackets. If you must have pretzels, try to eat them in small pieces and rinse your mouth out with water afterward.
What Can You Eat in the First Week of Braces?
There are so many things you shouldn’t eat when you have braces. It’s no wonder people go crazy trying to figure out what they can eat. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the warnings you hear about food. Although stay encouraged because there are certain foods that you can eat during the first week of having braces. Here are some of those foods:
- Boiled vegetables
- Thin soups
- Mashed Potatoes
Most people don’t have any trouble eating with braces. With a little bit of practice, you might even discover that you can eat a wider variety of foods than you could before your braces were fitted. As long as you brush and floss regularly, you will not have to change your diet too much to accommodate your braces. The most important thing is to follow the instructions provided by your orthodontist.