If you’ve just started using orthodontic cases or are planning to, knowing what foods to avoid with braces is super important. I know, been there done that.
Going to the dentist for whatever reason it’s not always fun, if at all! It’s one of the greatest fears in the world, especially for children.
Listening to drill sounds, the little water hose, the vacuum pump, etc. seeing all those crazy tools that will be introduced into our mouths and, of course, the scene in which the dentist appears with his impeccable gown, mouth covers and gloves, as if opening our guts was his mission for the day, cause anguish and anxiety.
Wearing braces to correct teeth is one of the most painful long-term experiences anyone can have. Each tooth is adjusted at will, so pain is imminent. It is a real torture to wear pieces of metal on your teeth.
The pain is excruciating, and there is no way of eating like you normally would. Your face hurts, and from personal experience, there are times when painkillers are no longer effective.
Unfortunately, in addition to the cleanliness that must be followed when wearing braces, it is essential to avoid some foods that could hurt you and delay the process.
Foods to avoid with braces
There is nothing more damaging to your teeth than sweets. They are highly addictive and cause tooth decay.
Hard candies, as they are known, hurt. Trying to bite into them will only cause much more pain, and logically, they can’t even be chewed.
Gummies and chewing gum
Gummies or “chewing gum” only make your teeth work harder to chew them. Because of their texture, they stick to your teeth and cause more work when cleaning them, therefore, more pain.
If chewing once is really painful, chewing constantly is even more so—the chewy texture of these candies can sometimes get tangled in the braces.
Ice and popsicles
Although it’s not strictly a food, ice consumption hurts not only because of its hardness but also because of the sensitivity that teeth sometimes acquire due to the substances applied to them.
So, eating ice can hurt from the nerve of a tooth to all the sensitive teeth due to dental treatment.
Here’s another example of tough and crispy food. Besides, cookie residues get between your teeth and brackets, causing teeth cleaning more pain than normal.
In addition, the high amount of sugar found in cookies and crackers can cause cavities.
Corn on the cob
Biting into corn is a daunting task, and doing it without getting its residues stuck in your teeth is nearly impossible.
If you want to eat corn, you’d better resort to “esquites.” Taking the first bite is impossible. You simply can’t eat corn on the cob with braces.
Apples, pears, and peaches are impossible. Fitting a single tooth causes unimaginable pain. Opening your mouth is already a painful task.
Trying to bite into these fruits is a challenge that no one manages to complete.
Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, among others, are a monumental task. Because they are small and chunky, they require extra work to eat.
They leave residue between the brackets and the molars, the bands are filled with small pieces, and there is no way to remove them without discomfort.
It’s not that you have to say goodbye to your favorite steak, but at least changing the way you approach red meats should change significantly. For example, switching to ground beef.
Chewing meat or biting into it is not at all pleasurable. Like other foods, it gets stuck between the teeth, and the effort causes pain and discomfort.
No matter how thin they are, when crunchy, they require more effort. The pain caused by having braces is such that there comes a point where it seems that our mouth is sedated.
Tomatoes are the best example. The small seeds it contains get easily stuck in the brackets.
The problem is that they are almost imperceptible, so they could stay there for a long time and generate infections and other complications.
Although wearing braces is very painful and you can’t eat everything you like, there are other food variations you can eat more easily.
To avoid pain, you can take an analgesic and perform the correct cleaning. Pain is temporary, so not being afraid of the dentist and his treatments is essential for a better dental treatment experience.
If you want to learn how to cook tasty meals without hurting your teeth, check out some Italian pasta recipes that are really simple (Italian food worked pretty well for me). Don’t forget that the best balance between life and food is given by yourself.
OK, we’ve seen what foods to avoid with braces. Now, what CAN I eat?
Although nothing is completely forbidden, some tips (and a few restrictions) will help you manage this stage much better each time you sit at a table.
Discomfort in the very few days:
It is quite common and completely normal to feel some pain in the first few days after braces have been put in place.
This discomfort is associated with the braces’ pressure that tries to move the teeth that have been anchored in the same position for a long time.
Above all, you will notice your teeth’ pressure when eating hard foods since they require more chewing.
For this reason, we recommend opting for softer foods or foods in a more liquid format (soups and purees).
It sounds quite restrictive, but in reality, it is not, since the range of soft foods is not so limited:
- Soups and broths (hot or cold), creams and purees: thanks to the fact that they don’t require chewing, you will be able to eat them without any problem
- Soft fish (excluding those with a texture similar to tuna or sword-fish) can be eaten with little chewing; they are ideal for this first stage
- Cooked foods such as a Russian salad are soft and easy to chew; they will also make a good choice
- As far as meat is concerned, it would be best to opt for meats such as chicken (fibrous meats will not be a good option). Furthermore, stewed meats are soft and will not cause you discomfort
- For dessert, yogurts or fruit compote can be a good way to finish the meal without suffering
Until the mouth gets used to having “foreign guests” inside it, it is quite common for the rubbing of the braces to cause small wounds or sores.
In addition to placing orthodontic wax in the area to prevent chafing until the wound heals, you must avoid certain foods:
- Citrus fruits can become very annoying when you have wounds or sores in your mouth, so we recommend that you avoid them as much as possible
- Spicy foods are also unpleasant in cases of irritation. If you avoid them, you will have a much better wound healing process
- The texture of certain foods, such as the thick crust of ciabatta bread, can cause rubbing in the damaged areas and, in addition to hindering healing, cause more pain
I don’t want to spoil my braces
Having braces come loose is not a big deal, nor does it require an emergency visit to the clinic.
Therefore, you will have to visit your dentist and get them fixed as soon as you can.
Also, avoid eating foods such as sandwiches since the texture and firmness of these foods are what can cause the braces to come loose in the first place.
As we said before, the same will happen if you bite into an apple, pear, or similar. Instead, break off the piece you are about to eat with your hand or a knife so that it doesn’t put the “metal” at risk.
I hate it when food gets stuck!
How to perform a correct hygiene with braces?
If you have braces that interfere with brushing, you should opt for specific orthodontic elements to help you with daily hygiene. Your dentist will be more than happy to assist!
Therefore, in addition to toothbrushing, you must complete the correct hygiene procedure by dedicating time to the nooks and crannies between brackets and teeth.
To do this, you will need:
- Superfloss dental floss: it is special for bracket wearers. As it has a stiffer tip, it allows you to pass it between the archwire and thus access the interproximal area more easily
- Interproximal brushes: they work as an alternative to dental floss if you don’t manage it well. Interproximal brushes have different thicknesses that will help you remove food debris from between teeth and the braces’ different sides. They can be purchased in pharmacies
- Irrigators: either water or air, will help remove food debris or dental plaque between the gums and the tooth between the brackets. They are comfortable to use (no effort required) and are very effective