What Foods Can I Eat with Traditional Metal Braces?
Not everyone is a good candidate for clear orthodontic aligners like Invisalign.
After explaining to a patient why they need traditional braces, one of the first questions we hear is: What can I eat with braces?
This is such a good question!
If you have clear aligners, you can remove them to eat. But metal braces seem much more restrictive.
Will you have to limit your diet while wearing these braces or can you eat whatever you want?
What Should You Eat When You First Get Your Braces (or After an Adjustment)?
What you eat will often depend on what stage of treatment you’re in, partly due to your comfort level.
When metal brackets, an arch wire, and rubber bands are placed on your teeth, it isn’t uncommon to experience a bit of discomfort for the first few days. Due to the pressure, your teeth and gums may feel a bit sore. Additionally, the metal may irritate the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your cheeks, tongue,
The soreness experienced can occur when you first have your braces placed, as well as after an adjustment. During this time, focus on eating soft foods, rather than:
- Hard breads
- Crunchy treats
- Thick cuts of meat
- Ice cream (teeth can be sensitive to temperature changes)
- Citrus fruits
- Spicy foods
What Can I Eat with Braces?
Eating with metal braces will take some practice. Sticking to softer foods will not only help you avoid discomfort but give you the nutrients you need while safeguarding your brackets. Make sure to incorporate plenty of the following foods into your diet:
- Yogurt (including non-dairy options if you’re vegan, plant-based, or sensitive to dairy)
- Whole grains
- Soft fruit
- Soft/cooked vegetables
- Cooked rice
- Soft breads (pancakes, muffins, etc.)
- Lunch meats
- Soft meat (chicken, seafood)
- Jell-O and pudding
If it’s easy to chew, go for it!
What Foods Should You Avoid While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment?
To protect your teeth, soft tissues, and traditional braces, your Torrance orthodontist will recommend avoiding foods in the following categories.
- Crunchy: Nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips
- Sticky: Gum, fruit roll-ups, caramel candy
- Chewy: Licorice, bagels, dried fruit, jerky
- Hard: Nuts, French rolls, apples, carrots, celery, taco shells
- Foods you have to bite into: Apples, corn on the cob
All these foods can cause damage in that they can crack, break, or completely remove brackets and rubber bands. When that happens, you can accidentally chew on the broken bracket and injure a tooth or scrape your soft tissues.
It’s also not uncommon when a bracket comes off a back tooth for the arch wire to be temporarily unsecured. It will stick out away from the teeth and can poke your cheeks. If this happens, contact your Torrance orthodontist right away so they can replace the band and/or bracket.
How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy While in Braces
When you get braces in Torrance – especially metal braces – keeping them clean is vital to your oral health.
Healthy teeth and gums can help reduce the amount of discomfort you feel when you first get your braces on or after an adjustment.
What’s the best way to care for your oral health while in braces?
Brush at Least Twice a Day
Brushing removes plaque and food particles, reducing your risk of enamel decalcification and dental decay.
Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush. Brush at least twice a day – morning and night. If possible, brush after every meal.
Consider investing in an electric toothbrush. A quality electric toothbrush will clean more thoroughly than a manual toothbrush and prevent you from brushing too hard.
Floss with Floss Aides Once a Day
To get between each tooth as well as the arch wire, you’ll need to use floss threaders. Some threaders have floss already attached.
Flossing while in metal braces will take time but keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong will help prevent soreness now and make your smile look even more amazing once you get your braces off.
Incorporate Water Flossers
A water flosser looks like an electric toothbrush with a pointed tip. It sprays water in between the teeth and around the brackets.
A water flosser is not a replacement for actual flossing. Instead, it’s a complement. It can remove food particles around the brackets and help clean below the gumline. However, it cannot remove the film or plaque on or particularly between the teeth. Only floss can do that.
If you find that your floss gets stuck when you floss, try waxed floss, or talk to your Torrance orthodontist for other recommendations and techniques.
Rinse with Antibacterial Mouthwash
When you can’t brush your teeth, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can reduce your risk of decay, though it is not a replacement for regular brushing. Mouthwash cannot physically remove plaque on or in between the teeth.
Without daily brushing and flossing, plaque will continue to build up and eventually calcify into tartar, which irritates the gum tissue and leads to cavities and gum disease.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
You should see your general dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and an examination.
The cleaning will remove any plaque and tartar build-up you’ve not been able to remove.
An exam will allow your dentist to catch issues early. The earlier you take care of a problem the easier, less painful, less time consuming, and cheaper it is.
Can You Avoid Extra Trips to Your Torrance Orthodontist?
One of the reasons people put off getting traditional braces is because they’re short on time.
We get it – life is incredibly busy. Extra appointments aren’t ideal, whether it's you or your kids who are in braces.
A visit every four to six weeks is required during the duration of your ortho treatment to move your teeth as quickly yet as comfortably as possible. Missing those appointments can extend how long you have to wear metal braces.
However, some people must visit their dentist more often, mostly due to cracked, broken, or missing brackets. Taking care of your oral health and staying away from crunchy, sticky, chewy, and hard foods will help you avoid extra trips to your Torrance orthodontist.
Do You Have Questions? We Have Answers!
We understand that getting braces in Torrance is an investment of both your time and money. It’s not something that should be taken lightly.
Therefore, if you have questions about your treatment plan, we urge you to ask us. We’ll explain why you need braces, why we recommend traditional metal braces, and give you a timeline of how long you’ll be in braces.
Our team will also review oral hygiene instructions and show you which cleaning aids work best.
If you have questions, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to ask.
Getting braces is an investment. Make sure you have the facts first. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with your Torrance orthodontist. We’re happy to answer all your questions.