If you have been considering a change to your smile but cringe at the thought…
If you’ve made the decision to seek orthodontic treatment, you’re one step closer to achieving a straight, beautiful smile. Although braces are a great way to straighten your teeth, they do bring about some disadvantages, namely fewer food choices. As most people who wear braces can attest, removing food particles from them can be an arduous task.
Some foods should only be eaten if you’re prepared to devote a lot of time towards cleaning your braces after you’ve eaten. Additionally, there are a few foods that you should avoid altogether, as they can potentially damage or bend wires and pop brackets off your braces. In this article, we detail some of the foods that you should and should not eat while wearing your braces.
Foods You Can Eat
Abstaining from some of your favourite foods can be a challenge that requires a fair bit of willpower; however, it is worth doing in the name of straight, healthy teeth. After all, orthodontic appliances can be expensive, so taking care of them should be paramount. Here are some of the foods that you can eat with your new orthodontic appliance:
- Milkshakes, Jell-O, ice cream without nuts, smoothies, and cakes
- Soft-cooked rice, noodles, and pasta
- Salmon and tuna, crabs and crab cakes
- Soft cheeses and lunch meats
- Meatballs, hot-dogs, and hamburgers
- Soft-cooked chicken
- Peas, steamed spinach, mashed potatoes
Is this an all-encompassing list of foods you can eat? Of course, not; it is, however, a reasonable list of foods that should cause you the least amount of problems as you adjust to wearing your new orthodontic appliance.
Now that we have detailed some of the foods that you can eat, let’s turn our attention to foods that you should completely avoid during your orthodontic treatment.
Foods to Avoid
Tough meats like beef jerky should be avoided at all costs as they may loosen the brackets and wiring that holds your orthodontic appliances in place.
Certain snacks like potato chips can morph into hard balls on your orthodontic appliance, making them hard to clean, so consider avoiding these foods as well.
Hard foods like pizza crusts and raw vegetables can damage the wires and brackets of your orthodontic appliance.
Sticky foods like caramel candies and licorice should also be avoided as they often get caught between wires and brackets, which could potentially lead to tooth decay.
Habits like chewing on pens, pencils, and ice should be strictly avoided as these can cause irreparable damage to your device.
If this is your first time receiving orthodontic treatment, it’s important to note that for the first few weeks after being fitted with your orthodontic appliance you may experience some discomfort that can make eating anything a challenge. So, what kind of discomfort can you expect? According to orthodontists, many patients have reported feeling some pain and soreness for a period of a few weeks following the installation of their orthodontic appliances, most notably along the gum line.
A good way to remedy the discomfort in the first few weeks is to dilute one teaspoon of salt into an 8oz glass of warm water, and use the mixture as a mouth rinse. This not only reduces the likelihood of infection but also works to reduce pain as well. To help with jaw pain, you’re encouraged to apply a warm heating pad to your jaw. Also, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and non-aspirin to resolve any pain or irritation that wasn’t remedied with the heating pad or salt water rinse.
Smart Oral Care
To get the best results from your orthodontic appliances, you should practice smart oral care at home including:
- Removing elastics prior to brushing
- Trying to maneuver your toothbrush in-between the gaps of your braces
- Using an electric toothbrush
- Thoroughly flossing
- Inspecting your orthodontic appliance to make sure you’ve cleaned everything
It is always important to speak with your orthodontist regarding any concerns you may have about at-home care for your orthodontic appliance. For more information about braces, call Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043 or visit our contact page here.