To Eat or Not to Eat: Eating With Braces
14th Jun, 2016
‘What can I eat?’ Orthodontists often hear this common question from people who just got braces.
Fortunately, there are more things that you can eat than things that you can’t eat. Here are some of the foods you should avoid and what you can eat instead.
1. Corn on the Cob
Imagine biting into a hard piece of corn on the cob. As you imagine this scenario, you can see how quickly corn on the cob could damage your braces. The act of biting it could break your wires or your brackets.
What to eat instead: Try cutting the corn off the cob with a sharp knife and eating the corn pieces with a fork. You’ll still get the fresh taste from corn on the cob without risking broken braces.
2. Hard and Chewy Candy
Like corn on the cob, hard candy is difficult to chew and can damage your braces. Candies to avoid include:
- Chewy candy bars
Some of these treats, like taffy, can get stuck around and under your brackets. It can be difficult to remove this candy residue, even with brushing and flossing.
What to eat instead: Eat chocolate or candy that dissolves in your mouth and doesn’t require chewing.
Before you got braces, you bought a big bowl of popcorn at the movie theatre. Now that you have braces, those little pieces of popcorn could get stuck under your brackets. Plus, biting down on popcorn seeds could ruin your brackets.
What to eat instead: Try hulless popcorn, a type of popcorn with a smaller kernel. It is more tender and easier to chew. Or, pick softer snacks like ice cream.
Chewing gum puts a lot of pressure on your braces, causing the wire to bend and break. If the wire is bent, your braces can’t move your teeth into the right position. Your orthodontist will need to replace the wire. Bending the wire could prolong your time with braces.
What to eat instead: If you want to freshen your breath, suck on a breath mint instead. Just remember not to chew it.
5. Raw Vegetables
You can’t imagine someone telling you not to eat your veggies. But if you have braces, you shouldn’t eat raw vegetables like:
Continue to eat vegetables, because these healthy foods give your teeth the nutrients they need.
What to eat instead: You can still eat these vegetables—simply boil them until they’re soft.
6. Chewy Bread and Meat
You may find that some foods you eat on a regular basis suddenly become difficult to chew. These foods include:
- Pizza crust
You may be able to eat these foods by cutting them into tiny pieces and eating them slowly, bite by bite.
What to eat instead: Try incorporating softer foods into your diet, such as mashed potatoes, pasta and soup.
Take Care of Your Braces
Paying attention to what you do and don’t eat can protect your braces and your teeth. When you eat the correct foods, you won’t damage your braces and prolong your treatment.
If you can’t stand the thought of giving up these foods, consider Invisalign instead of traditional braces. Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners. You can remove these aligners to eat, so you are free to eat what you normally would.
If you have questions about what you can and can’t eat, talk to an orthodontist. He or she will also provide you with additional advice to care for your teeth while you wear braces. Keep referring to our blog for more information about living a healthy life with braces.
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