Braces are a great way to improve your smile or fix alignment issues. Getting used to the brackets and wires on your teeth can take a while, and you’ll also have to make small changes to your diet.
Hard, tough or sticky foods can damage the wires of your braces and be difficult to clean off. Here’s what foods you can eat and what you should avoid after getting orthodontics:
Foods to avoid while wearing braces
If you have traditional metal braces, there are some foods you shouldn’t eat. Avoiding these foods will prevent damage to the brackets and wires on your braces.
Chewy foods: A lot of snacks or processed foods fit into this category. Processed sugary snacks like fruit roll-ups and lollies such as hard licorice can easily get stuck all over the brackets and wires of your braces. Eating too many chewy sugary foods can lead to an increase in plaque on your teeth.
Crunchy foods: Foods such as popcorn, corn chips and nuts are notorious for getting stuck in between braces. They are hard to dislodge even after a good brush.
Sticky foods: Sticky foods such as bubble gum and toffees or caramels can easily pull at the brackets and wires of your braces. Chewing gum is particularly hard to remove once it gets stuck.
Hard foods: Hard foods like ice, boiled lollies, hard biscuits, or crackers can break the brackets off your teeth.
Overly soft foods: Very soft or overly processed foods like white bread can turn into a sticky paste that coats your braces and requires brushing to remove.
While this may sound like a lot of foods to avoid, most of the foods in these categories are found in the snack food isles and are highly processed. Reducing the amount of junk food you eat while you have braces will help your overall oral health. Soft drinks and sugary foods can get lodged between teeth or stick to the brackets of your braces and lead to an increase in plaque.
Braces require more cleaning than regular teeth, which means plaque may linger for longer in the mouth. The acids found in plaque attack the surface of your tooth, leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Foods to eat sparingly while wearing braces
Coffee and tea: The tannins in coffee and tea can discolour your braces and teeth. Try to limit the number of caffeinated beverages you drink.
Orange juice and citric foods. Because citric fruits and their juice are very acidic, they are very high in sugar. It’s best to either drink and eat these foods sparingly and drink a glass of water alongside your fruit or fruit juice. This will help to wash away the fruit acid from around your teeth and braces.
Foods that stain or use colouring: Foods that stain or use food colouring can stain your braces, especially if you have clear braces. Try and avoid curries that use saffron or contain heavy spices that might stain.
Foods to eat while wearing braces
Some foods are great for eating when you have braces. Not only are these foods easy to eat and healthy, but they are also great for when your teeth are feeling more sensitive.
Yoghurt. Fruit yoghurt and Greek yoghurt is full of protein, easy to eat, and easy to wash away.
Cheese. Most cheese is soft and won’t get stuck between brackets or break your braces.
Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are nutritious and easy to eat.
Pasta. Noodle dishes are soft enough to eat without turning into a sticky paste in the mouth.
Fruit without pits. Bananas, seedless grapes, strawberries, and kiwifruit are easy to eat and usually won’t get stuck between your braces.
Tips for eating with braces
After the first few months of wearing braces, you’ll naturally become more accustomed to avoiding certain foods. Most hard, sticky, chewy or very soft foods are uncomfortable to eat and can take a lot of cleaning to remove from between the brackets of your braces.
In general, swapping processed snack foods for whole foods is a great idea. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and most meat off the bone is easy to eat for people with braces.
Reduce the amount of processed or refined sugar you eat and drink. Food debris that contains sugar leads to an increase in cavity-causing plaque.
Brush after every meal. It’s inevitable that food will get stuck between your braces. Brushing your teeth after you eat can help improve your oral health and prevent cavities.
Cut food into smaller pieces. Crunchy vegetables or corn are easier to eat when they are cut into smaller pieces or removed from the cob.
How to clean your braces between each meal
Pack an extra toothbrush for when you are on the go. To make cleaning on the go easier, pack an extra toothbrush and toothpaste in your work or school bag so that you don’t have to remember to take your toothbrush with you each day.
Clean your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can irritate your teeth and gums. When you have braces it’s important to clean thoroughly between your braces, the top of your teeth and your gums.
Brush after every meal. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack. Brace wires can catch all sorts of food debris and brushing after each meal will help prevent plaque buildup. If you have eaten citric foods or juices, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. The acids in these foods can weaken tooth enamel if you brush straight away.
Brush for two minutes. Make sure you get into every crevice and angle of your teeth. Spend thirty seconds on each part of your mouth, cleaning both the inner and outer sides of your teeth. Choosing a toothbrush with a narrow head can make it easier to brush between wires and get the back of your molars.
Use a floss threader or water pick. A floss threader makes it easier to floss between teeth when you have braces. Alternatively, a water pick cleans by using a stream of water and is a fast, easy way to floss.
Looking after your braces isn’t difficult. If you are interested in orthodontics, our specialist team will talk through how best to care for your braces. Book a consultation with the team at Gentle Dental today to find out if orthodontics is right for you.