Braces are orthodontic appliances that straighten the teeth and align the jaw over time by applying gentle pressure. Braces can be fixed, like our clear or Damon self-ligating braces, or removable, like our Invisalign clear aligners. These tools provide life-changing treatment, but many postpone or never seek orthodontic care because they are concerned about how it will affect their lifestyle. For example, one of the most widely believed misconceptions about braces is that they heavily restrict your diet. To help combat that belief, Farrow & Dewbre Orthodontics put together the following list to answer the question, “What can I eat with braces?”
Does it really matter what you eat with braces?
Yes! While what’s considered harmful to your braces depends on the kind of braces you have, what you eat will always matter!
Invisalign patients have the least “restrictions” because you need to remove the trays to eat and drink anything other than water! Your aligners will not be in the way, so there is nothing you can’t eat. The only thing you might want to look out for is food that could potentially stain your teeth, like coffee, tea, or tomato-based products! We also suggest that you rinse your mouth with water after every meal to remove any residue that could transfer from your teeth to the trays and cause discoloration.
If you have our clear or Damon braces, you will need to adjust your diet as part of the appliance upkeep. Eating the “wrong” foods can break your brackets or damage your wires, which can be annoying to deal with and interrupt your routine when you need to come in to get them repaired.
Changing your diet also protects your oral health! You might be less likely to consistently perform adequate oral hygiene if you constantly have broken braces or trouble cleaning them due to pain, irritation, or stuck food. Poor oral hygiene habits can lead to tooth decay, decalcification, gum disease, infection, and more. If left untreated, they can make your orthodontic experience unpleasant and affect your overall results.
So, what can you not eat?
You do not want to bite into any food using your front teeth, and always cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces. If applicable, remove it from the bone. You also want to avoid sticky, crunchy, tough, chewy, or hard food. For example, when grocery shopping, you want to bypass the following:
- Oreos and other hard cookies
- hard taco shells
- ice cream cones
- taffy, caramel, and other sticky candies
- hard candies like lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, et cetera
- hard crackers
- beef jerky
- meat with bones
- stringy vegetables like celery and other hard/crunchy/raw vegetables
- crunchy or hard whole fruits
- hard cough drops
- corn on the cob
- hard, fried food
- anything that requires you to bite with your front teeth
All of these have the potential to break your brackets and wires or get stuck in or around your braces. Over time, your urge to eat these “No, thank you” foods will decrease, and your new diet won’t feel confined. If it helps, maybe you can find solace in the promise that the diet adjustment is only temporary and you will get to eat the food you crave in no time.
What can you eat?
If it feels like we have asked you not to eat your favorite food or snacks while in treatment, don’t worry! There is still so much food you can enjoy during treatment. The following are just some examples of food you can eat—most have endless varieties you can make at home or eat at restaurants!
- soft, boneless meat and seafood
- vegetables softened by steaming or boiling
- soft fruits
- hard fruits cut into thin, small pieces
- french fries
- mashed potatoes
- ADA-approved, sugar-free gum
- cookies softened by milk and broken into small pieces
- softened crackers in small pieces
- soft bread
- corn off the cob
- ice cream
- soft cheeses
- soft salads with bite-sized ingredients
- mac n’ cheese
- soft pizza (don’t eat the crust!)
- hot chocolate
- melted chocolate
- and more!
Need more meal and snack ideas? See us at Farrow & Dewbre Orthodontics For More Information!
We understand that altering your diet can be difficult initially, but we promise that the changes are only temporary and completely worth it!
To learn more about the treatment you qualify for and its orthodontist-approved diet, schedule a free consultation with Farrow & Dewbre Orthodontics! Dr. Farrow, Dr. Dewbre and their team provide excellent customer service and stunning results to Oklahoma City, Edmond, and Clinton communities.