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What (and What Not) To Eat with Braces

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One of the most common concerns about braces is how they will affect your ability to eat the foods that you love. Understanding what to eat, what to be cautious about, and what to avoid can help ensure that your treatment goes as smoothly as possible. 

This blog will guide you through how you can adjust your diet during the initial weeks with braces, following adjustments, and provide practical tips for eating with braces. But it’s important to follow your own orthodontist’s advice about what you can and can’t eat, as they know what’s best for your individual treatment needs. 

What to eat in the first few days after getting braces

The first few weeks with braces are typically the most challenging as your mouth adjusts to the new hardware. So, think soft and soothing. Opt for nourishing options like green smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal. These choices not only provide essential nutrients but also require little to no chewing, reducing the risk of irritating your sensitive mouth. 

Soups and broths are also excellent as they are comforting and hydrating, helping to soothe any soreness you might feel. Avoid anything that might stick to the braces or require biting into, as this can increase discomfort and potentially harm the brackets. 

Popsicles and ice cream can also be excellent choices in the first few days after getting braces, because of their soft texture and cooling effect, which can help soothe sore gums and teeth. However, it’s important to consume these treats in moderation. Both popsicles and ice cream contain sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay. Choose sugar-free varieties and rinse your mouth gently with plain water after consuming these sweets to remove any residual sugar. Also: be gentle and avoid biting directly into hard-frozen popsicles (and similar foods) as this could potentially damage your braces. 

Eating during your first few weeks with braces

What you can eat with braces

During this period, your teeth and gums might continue to feel sore and sensitive, making eating a somewhat daunting task. It’s best to stick to soft foods that require minimal chewing. The foods listed above are perfect during the first few weeks with braces – as is anything that is not only gentle on your braces and mouth but also nourishing. Mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and soft cheeses can be ideal as they provide both protein and comfort without putting pressure on your braces. Soft fruits like bananas or steamed vegetables can be a great choice. Including soft proteins such as tofu, fish, or scrambled eggs can help maintain a balanced diet.

Foods you may be able to eat with braces

Healthy foods that you would normally choose may need to be avoided or adapted during this time. For instance, while fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet, biting directly into an apple can be harmful to your braces. Instead, cutting fruits into small, bite-sized pieces can prevent damage – but it’s best to opt for softer fruits for a while. Similarly, chewy bread or bagels can be problematic as they may stick to and pull at the brackets. Choose softer bread varieties or gently toasting them can make it easier to eat without risking damage to your braces. As noted above, your orthodontist’s advice should guide your food choices. 

What you can’t eat with braces

In the initial weeks, it’s crucial to avoid foods that can damage your braces or intensify discomfort. Hard, crunchy foods such as popcorn, nuts, and hard candies should be completely off the menu as they can break wires and brackets. Sticky foods like caramel or chewing gum are also a no-go as they can get lodged in your braces, making them difficult to clean and potentially leading to dental issues (So skip the S’mores, sorry!). Not only do these foods pose a risk to the structural integrity of your braces, but they can also increase the likelihood of painful incidents in already sensitive mouths.

Eating after you’ve had your braces adjusted

Adjustments are a regular part of the treatment process for wire and ceramic braces (Invisalign devices may need adjustments as well, but it’s a different procedure). The adjustment process can involve replacing the archwire, tightening or losing wires, replacing brackets and adding spacers. Sometimes referred to as “tightening” braces, it can leave you feeling a bit sore for a few days. 

Similar to your initial weeks with braces, focus on eating softer, easier-to-chew foods following an adjustment. This adaptation period allows your teeth and gums to settle while still ensuring that your nutrition does not suffer. Gradually reintroducing more solid foods as comfort permits can help ease the transition back to a more regular diet.

Tips for eating with braces

Eating with braces doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are some practical tips to help make the process easier:

1. Cut food into small pieces: This reduces the need for extensive chewing and minimizes the risk of damaging your braces.

2. Eat slowly and chew gently: Taking your time can prevent accidental bites that may hurt your gums/inner cheeks or damage your braces.

3. Maintain excellent oral hygiene: Regular brushing and using pre-threaded dental floss or floss threaders can help keep your braces and teeth clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help wash away food particles and reduce the risk of plaque buildup on your teeth and braces.

Life with braces and beyond

Adjusting to life with braces requires some changes, especially in your dietary habits. As you become more accustomed to your braces, you’ll likely be able to reintroduce most foods back into your diet. However, maintaining an awareness of the textures and toughness of your food will always be important. Continuing to avoid extremely hard or sticky foods will protect your braces and help maintain good oral hygiene. Regularly scheduled dental visits and consultations with your orthodontist can provide further guidance tailored to your specific needs and progress.

When your treatment is done, you’ll want to keep that beautiful, healthy smile, right? That’s why aftercare, such as wearing a retainer, as well as regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential. A dental savings plan can help you get the regular dental care you need at a price you can afford. Plan members report saving an average of 50%* on their dental care. (Reading this before getting braces? A dental savings plan can save you an average of 20% on orthodontic treatment for kids and adults). 

See how much you can save with a dental savings plan.

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And, unlike dental insurance, dental savings plans don’t have deductibles, annual limits or waiting before you qualify for reduced rates. You can use your plan within 1-3 business days to save on virtually all dental care, from braces, root canals and crowns, to cleanings, checkups and more – many plans even include discounts on treatments like dental implants and cosmetic services that insurance rarely pays for.     

There are plans that fit every dental care need and budget. Want help choosing the plan that’s right for you? Give us a call at 1-833-735-0399 or use our calculator below to get a quick peek at how much you can save on your dental care with a dental savings plan.  

*Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.    

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