When it comes to orthodontic treatment, many people don’t realize that the smile you see when you look in the mirror won’t be the only thing affected in the process. Braces in particular can bring quite a few changes to your life, some small and some a little more substantial, like food restrictions.
In order to protect your teeth, your mouth, and your braces, you’ll need to avoid certain foods until your braces come off. This can be one of the biggest learning curves to come with treatment, but the good news is, Bennett Orthodontics is here to make your orthodontic journey as stress-free and comfortable as possible! We’ve put together a few tips to help you cope with challenging dietary changes, as well as a list of our favorite foods to eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Keep reading to learn more!
No matter how long you’re in braces, they are a major investment in your oral health and a straighter smile. Though treatment may feel like it’s lasting forever at times, it’s only temporary, and you’ll be rewarded with benefits that last a lifetime! Patience is key to this process. By accepting you’ll have a few limitations for a while and following our recommendations, you’ll find your time in braces flies by, and we’ll be revealing your brand new smile before you know it!
Healthy teeth, healthy YOU
Oral care is always important, but it’s even more crucial when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. We recommend brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time, as well as flossing every night before bed. Along with maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, you should aim to drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet that’s rich and varied in vitamins and minerals. To get you started on that part, we rounded up some of the best foods for your body and your braces!
Menu planning for braces patients
Immediately after your braces are put on, and for a day or two following adjustment appointments, you may find it helpful to stick to soft food. This doesn’t have to just be soups or shakes - baked potatoes, mac and cheese, rice, and applesauce are all excellent options to give your mouth a chance to adjust. Frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream are also acceptable, though in moderation of course!
The first few weeks of braces tend to be the most difficult. Fortunately, once your gums and mouth toughen up a little, chewing and eating won’t feel so strange and you’ll be able to manage a modified diet with ease! Throughout the course of your treatment, you’ll want to steer clear of anything too crunchy or too chewy. That means nuts, seeds, chips, popcorn, and candy, as well as some raw fruits and vegetables. These items can stick in brackets, or even bend and break them. Take a look below for some suggestions on healthy foods that give you the most bang for your braces’ buck!
Plain or Greek yogurt with no added sugar is a great choice for strengthening your teeth and improving your oral health. Yogurt is not only high in calcium and protein, but it comes with an extra boost of beneficial bacteria, and the probiotics can help crowd out bad bacteria in your gums. Add soft fruit and you’ve got a perfect breakfast or snack for when your teeth are sore, but be sure to brush your teeth afterwards since even plain yogurt has naturally-occurring sugar content.
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken soup isn’t just for sick days! This comfort food is perfect for an aching mouth, and the homemade version is especially helpful. Chicken broth is loaded with minerals, gelatin, and collagen, all of which are necessary for strong teeth and bones, and the protein and vitamins can increase your healing rate. A bowl of soup also gives your jaws and teeth a break from chewing. If you’re missing your carbs or want something a little more substantial, you can soak some bread or crackers in your soup. The softened consistency will be easier for your braces to handle.
Sometimes a sweet potato really hits the spot. Filling, but still soft enough to eat when your teeth and jaws are sore, these potatoes pack a punch of vitamin A! Vitamin A is important for the health of your teeth and gums, and also helps to maintain the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. Sweet potatoes also contain keratin, an agent that promotes the formation of tooth enamel. Whether you like them savory or sweet, as a main meal or side dish, you can bake, fry, mash, steam, or even boil them for a healthy boost of vitamins and minerals.
When your mouth is feeling sore, putting pressure on your teeth to chew beef, pork or even chicken can sometimes be a little painful. Fish can be a fantastic alternative! Because it’s naturally soft and flaky, you shouldn’t have any trouble eating it, even if you’re experiencing some tenderness.
Fish is a superfood in more ways than one. Did you know that Harvard scientists have linked the omega-3 fatty acids in fish with lower rates of gum disease? That’s because they naturally dial down the kind of inflammation that occurs when bacteria irritates the gums. Fatty fish like salmon are also a good source of vitamin D, which allows your body to absorb and use calcium more effectively. This is important for oral health because calcium helps to protect the teeth and gums from disease.
Served like a shake or in a bowl with toppings, smoothies are the perfect “food” for days when eating feels like a chore. Choose from the endless variety of fruits, vegetables, and add-ons available for smoothies for a quick blast of vitamins and minerals. The temperature and texture of a smoothie can also help soothe any oral discomfort by decreasing swelling and creating a numbing sensation in your gums and teeth. Bonus: they’re easy to take with you if you’re on the run and need a healthy treat!
Get your best smile with braces from Bennett Orthodontics
We know that braces can be sometimes, particularly where food is involved, but you don’t have to suffer for a straighter smile! Look at the treatment process as an opportunity to make healthy changes that will benefit almost every aspect of your life, from your teeth to your health to your confidence levels. If you’re ready to embark on your orthodontic adventure in Mobile or the surrounding areas, get in touch today to schedule your complimentary consultation. Your best smile is waiting for you!