You just got braces…what to eat?!

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There are always myths and legends out there about eating with braces. Some of those stories can seem pretty dire—like you’ll never be able to eat popcorn again! This article will clarify to dos and don’ts when it comes to eating and braces.

When you first get braces or after an adjustment, there’s a good chance your cheeks or teeth will be a little sore for up to a couple of days. Generally speaking, it will be more comfortable to eat softer foods for the first couple of meals – like noodles, soups, mashed potatoes, bananas, oranges or cooked vegetables. But much like a sore muscle, it is good to exercise your teeth and eat your regular diet as soon as possible. While it may be more difficult at first, the trick is to cut your food into smaller pieces and take smaller bites. By resuming your normal diet quickly, you will actually help the soreness go away in a minimum of time.

There are two types of foods9779_Small that can damage your orthodontic appliances and teeth – sugary sticky sweets and very hard, crunchy foods. Let’s start with sugary items. Outside of having orthodontic treatment, sugary items should be limited as a part of a healthy diet, so it should not feel like deprivation. Sticky sweets like caramels and taffy should be avoided because they can easily damage the braces and pull wires loose. Sticky foods are tough to clean from around the braces and these difficult to clean areas can lead to cavities forming around the braces.  Sodas and sugary drinks should always be avoided for this reason. A soft chocolate chip cookie can always be an indulgence- just brush your teeth afterwards so the sugar is removed from around the braces as quickly as possible.

With hard crunchy foods—the real danger is dislodging or breaking the braces from the teeth. Pizza crust, beef jerky, raw carrots, and apples can all cause problems. But we don’t want you to give up apples, because that’s a great, healthy snack. Instead, just cut your apples into bite size pieces and enjoy! The same applies for any crunchy or hard food like crusty breads, hard vegetable and fruits or meats. When you have braces you don’t have to change your diet, you may just have to eat some foods differently than you had before.

Another myth about food and braces relates to gum. Contrary to what you may think, sugar-free gum is acceptable for people with braces and often encouraged to make tooth soreness go away quickly. And for that popcorn, hull-less popcorn is the perfect alternative to satisfy your cravings and keep your braces intact.

Dr. Clark D. Colville’s practice is based in Seguin, Texas. He is a member of the Texas Association of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Association of Orthodontists is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment and choosing an orthodontist for your care. An orthodontist is a specialist and must complete two-to-three years of additional schooling and an accredited residency program to achieve this distinction. To find an orthodontist in your area, visit www.mylifemysmile.org

Source: Clark D. Colville, DDS, MS

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