If you’re considering straightening your smile with the use of braces, or have already begun your orthodontic treatment, you may want to know what lifestyle changes you can expect. One of the biggest changes you’re likely to face is the fact that some of your eating habits may need to be adjusted. But, it needn’t be a difficult experience. Knowing what you can and can’t eat will help you to protect your teeth as well as your braces and ensure that your treatment works as effectively as possible.
TRY TO AVOID… If you have braces, it’s a good idea to stay away from chewy foods, like liquorice, as well as sticky foods like caramel and chewing gum, as well as peanut butter, honey and maple syrup. Sticky foods get caught in braces easily and make cleaning them very difficult. Tough meats – beef jerky and poorly cooked pork, for example – can loosen the brackets and wires of your braces, so try to avoid these, or eat them very carefully. Hard foods, like pizza crusts, nuts, raw vegetables, and cookies can also cause damage to your braces as they require a lot of force to bite through. Foods that require you biting into with your front teeth, like apples and corn on the cob, should also be avoided. Ice is an absolute no-no – chewing it can cause some serious damage to your braces. Other extra hard items like certain candies also pose a risk – they are packed with sugar, which can cause tooth decay, and can also harm your brackets and wires if you crunch on them. SO, WHAT CAN YOU EAT? The good news is that you don’t have to completely change your diet to suit your orthodontic treatment. In fact, there is a good variety of food that is perfectly fine. Generally, it’s a good idea to stick to soft textured foods, particularly after having your braces tightened. Some healthy options include soft fruits, like tangerines, peaches, and kiwi, as well as steamed or boiled vegetables. Healthy hard foods like apple and carrot can be eaten carefully, as long as they are cut up into smaller pieces first. You can eat some meat, as long as it is tender – try chicken, seafood and options like lasagne and pre-cut meats like ham. Soft grains, like cooked pasta and rice, are also fine, and eggs are a great source of protein that won’t cause damage to your braces. If you treat yourself to dessert, opt for dishes that don’t require chewing, like ice cream, fruit smoothies, applesauce and custard. HEALTHY DIET, HEALTHY TEETH
It is, of course, always a good idea to follow an eating plan that is balanced and healthy for the sake of your teeth and your overall wellbeing. Certain foods can actually help to strengthen the enamel of your teeth, helping them to stay strong. Foods packed with calcium, like milk, yoghurt, and cheese are great for your teeth. In fact, cheese can also help to reduce the acidity levels in your mouth, which is helpful when it comes to avoiding tooth decay and mouth irritation. If you don’t eat dairy, try other calcium-rich options like tofu, steamed broccoli, kale and okra. Incorporate some protein into your diet with eggs, soft beans, tofu and tender meats. If you’re really craving lollies, try and choose a sugar-free variety and only eat them on occasion!