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Foods to avoid with braces

Dec 18, 2023Oral health, Orthodontics

Foods to avoid with braces

Even with the advancements in modern technology, braces remain susceptible to damage. It is essential to exercise caution while consuming certain foods as they may harm the brace components such as rubber bands, wires, or brackets themselves. It is advisable to refrain from consuming food items that are sticky, chewy, or hard in consistency. For individuals who wear braces, soft foods are highly recommended as they tend to be less abrasive to the braces hardware.


Food That Should be Avoided with Braces

Food That Should be Avoided with Braces

It is best to refrain from consuming the following food items while wearing braces:

  • Whole apples & pears: It is advisable to slice hard fruits into small and delicate pieces instead of biting directly into them.
  • Carrots & Other Raw Vegetables: In order to prevent any damage to the wire or bracket, it is advisable to avoid biting into a whole carrot. A wise approach would be to cut the carrot into thin sticks or rounds before consuming them either raw or cooked after softening.
  • Hard or crusty bread: There is no need to entirely relinquish bread from your diet; only certain types, such as hard rolls, hard bread, and pizza crusts, pose a problem. Opt for soft varieties of bread or eliminate the tough crusts to promote better health.
  • Popcorn: It is common for popcorn kernels to become embedded in braces or beneath gum tissues, posing a challenge to accessing the affected area without requiring partial braces removal.
  • Nuts: Nuts, due to their hard texture, can cause damage to brackets and wires in the mouth. However, nuts that have been ground or flaked are safe to consume.
  • Corn on the Cob: Consuming corn on the cob by biting into it can lead to unwanted consequences. It is recommended to use a sharp knife for extracting the corn from its cob.
  • Tough Meat: It is recommended to opt for soft meats that do not tough and chewy.
  • Caramel: This tends to get stuck on the brackets and arch wires, leading to fractures.
  • Licorice: Chewing on licorice can often get stuck on your braces, which can lead to cavities.
  • Lollipop (Lollies): When it comes to indulging in lollipops, caution is warranted if one wears braces as most of the options available are either hard or chewy. Furthermore, ingesting these would require prompt brushing as the high sugar content can result in dental decay and staining of teeth.
  • Chewing Gum: The act of chewing a stick of gum might not be as enjoyable for individuals with braces, just be sure to not get it stuck on your braces.
  • Soft Drink: Consuming high sugar beverages can lead to dental decay. It is strongly recommended to refrain from sugary drinks while wearing braces. The sugar residue can adhere to the teeth, causing discoloration that may become more conspicuous upon removal of the braces.
  • Ice: It is acceptable to use ice cubes to chill beverages, so long as your child does not develop a desire to bite into the ice. Otherwise, you may be unpleasantly surprised by the sound of their braces being damaged.
  • Turmeric: When introducing your child to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, it is advisable to encourage them towards dishes that do not include turmeric. This yellow powdered spice has the potential to leave unsightly stains on braces and Invisalign retainers. Therefore, it is wise to avoid meals with turmeric when catering to children with these dental appliances.

During the first few months, it may be essential to remind your child about their dietary options. Demonstrate to your child how effortlessly they can slice their snack into convenient bite-sized pieces to avoid consuming foods that are either unprepared or not fit for ingestion.

It is crucial to motivate your child to practice daily oral hygiene by brushing and flossing their teeth at least twice a day while undergoing orthodontic treatment. It is essential to maintain proper dental hygiene to accelerate tooth movement and prevent decay and discoloration caused by plaque buildup. However, special attention is required for lingual braces attached to the back of teeth as it is difficult to detect any food debris stuck behind them.

It is recommended to seek guidance from your Orthodontist if you have any concerns regarding your child’s dietary limitations with braces.


Drinks to Avoid with Braces

Drinks to Avoid with Braces

It is advisable to refrain from consuming sugary beverages that produce tooth decay and cling to the teeth while using Invisalign or braces. Moreover, hot liquids possess the propensity to stain and misshape the clear aligners. Braces also tend to get stained due to the consumption of certain hot drinks such as coffee.

It is advisable to refrain from consuming these beverages:

  • Acidic liquids
  • Energy drinks
  • Flavored water
  • Fruit drinks
  • Sodas (including diet)
  • Sports drinks

In order to maintain optimal oral hygiene, it is recommended to thoroughly rinse, brush, and floss after consuming sugary beverages or snacks.


Dealing with Loose Wires or Bands on your Braces

the duration of your orthodontic treatment, you will be required to attend a series of appointments with your orthodontist to make necessary adjustments to your braces. However, it is important to note that various complications may arise in between these scheduled visits, such as bands or wires loosening or breaking.

This scenario could potentially occur in the event that you:

  • Consume sticky or crunchy foods.
  • Pick at your braces.
  • Have an injury to your mouth.

In case you encounter any problems with your braces, it is advisable to immediately schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. Disregarding the issue or postponing a repair might hinder the progress of your treatment.

It is recommended to refrain from pulling or bending a broken wire or bracket as it may aggravate the situation and lead to further damage. It would be prudent to cover the sharp edge with a piece of wet cotton or orthodontic wax until you can consult a dentist or orthodontist for professional assistance.


Food That Can Be Eaten with Braces

Consuming food with braces is still possible. However, it is essential to ensure that your child practices proper dental hygiene post meals, as debris can easily accumulate in the brackets and wires. Foods that are safe to be consumed with braces include:

  • Bread: Seeking out safe food options, pre-cut loaves of bread, as well as soft tacos and tortillas, are recommended choices.
  • Dairy: Consuming soft cheese, yogurt, and dips is acceptable when wearing braces.
  • Grains: Braces-wearers can opt for a soft diet that includes cooked pasta, be it rice, noodles, or any type of pasta dish.
  • Cakes & Muffins: Pancakes, delicate slices and biscuits.
  • Soft Meats & Chicken: Enjoy a variety of roasted, deli, and barbecued meats that offer tenderness without being overly chewy.
  • Cooked Vegetables: It is acceptable to consume majority of the soft and well-cooked vegetables. Therefore, there should not be any justification for your child to refuse eating their brussel sprouts.
  • Seafood: Steer clear of any bones or shells present in seafood, however, apart from that, braces wearers can safely consume fish, crab, salmon, oysters and mussels as part of their regular diet.
  • Soft fruits: Assorted fruits such as bananas, kiwi fruit, pineapple, strawberries, and stone fruits are recommended for consumption.
  • Sweet treats: It is acceptable to indulge in ice cream, jelly, smoothies, and milkshakes. However, one must exercise caution regarding the potential harm that excessive sugar consumption could cause to their teeth and overall health. It is prudent to limit these goodies to occasional treats.


What to Do If Braces Get Damaged

What to Do If Braces Get Damaged

Unforeseen incidents such as gym class mishaps, unexpected soccer ball hits during practice, or candy that turns out to be chewier than anticipated can occur. Even with adequate preparation and dietary considerations, it is not always possible to avoid the everyday occurrences that may cause damage or loosening of your child’s braces.

Thankfully, the orthodontist can fix most damages without much difficulty. Additionally, there are various measures that you can adopt to minimize the negative effects on your child’s oral health.

Recognize the signs: It is highly probable that your child will be the one who first detects any anomalies with their braces. Educate them about conventional damage signs such as deformed or jutting wires, unfastened brackets, inexplicable pain and thoroughly examine the affected region if necessary. Document any alterations or apprehensions you observe.

Contact your orthodontist: It is advisable to refrain from attempting to replace bands or re-glue brackets at home. It is in the best interest of your child’s oral health to promptly schedule an appointment for any necessary repairs to their braces as this will enable them to resume progress towards a healthy smile.

Collect loose parts: It is recommended that you gather any loose components, such as dislocated brackets, and place them in a secure bag for your upcoming orthodontist appointment. In certain situations, these parts can be sterilized, repaired, and reused rather than needing to purchase and install new ones.

Move sharp wires: It is imperative to handle sharp wires with care as they can result in irritation to gums and cheeks, leading to minor scratching or poking. To alleviate the discomfort, it is recommended to use tweezers to delicately rotate or bend wires away from sensitive tissue. It is imperative to exercise caution while using a nail trimmer or small pliers to trim the ends, ensuring that your child does not ingest any residual material. It is advisable to seek guidance from an orthodontist before attempting this procedure, as it requires proper instruction and expertise.

Use dental wax: The application of dental wax is recommended as a provisional measure for those experiencing discomfort or movement of wires and brackets. This should be carried out until the orthodontist can provide a long-lasting resolution.

Invest in a mouthguard: Acquire a mouthguard to protect your child’s dentition while engaging in sports or physical activity, or if they exhibit nocturnal bruxism. It is imperative to ensure the compatibility of the mouthguard with braces and seek guidance from your dental practitioner or orthodontic specialist should you require recommendations on suitable options.

Clean any wounds: In the event of cuts, tears or blisters caused by wires or brackets, it is crucial to administer daily wound cleaning. The use of disinfectant cream or rinse will effectively eliminate bacteria. To alleviate any pain experienced by your child, prepare warm salt water for them to gargle with.

Return to soft foods: It is advisable to revert back to your child’s previous diet of soft foods in case their braces have been damaged. Postpone the reintroduction of regular foods until you have consulted your orthodontist and the required repairs have been executed.


How to Eat With Braces

Ensuring your child’s braces are not damaged by food is vital, and there are several additional measures you can undertake to guarantee their mouth remains healthy. Educate your child on these actions to help them maintain proper eating habits and keep their braces clean:

Choose the right toothbrush: Obtaining a toothbrush with smaller and softer bristles can be beneficial in avoiding any discomfort and accessing difficult-to-reach areas between braces. It is recommended that you consult your dental practitioner for a brush commendation that would be suitable for your child’s mouth size, while at the same time not too big or too small. Additionally, seek brushes with additional features such as a gripped handle or tongue cleaner, to enhance ease of brushing.

Brush after meals: It is imperative to ensure that your child brushes their teeth after every meal as it helps prevent food particles from accumulating in their teeth, leading to the formation of plaque. It is recommended that your child maintains a daily routine of brushing their teeth at least thrice, in the morning, midday, and before bedtime. However, it is advisable to prioritize brushing after every meal. In the absence of a toothbrush, they can rinse their mouth out with water or mouthwash as an alternative.

Floss daily: Instruct your child on the proper technique of flossing to ensure that all the missed places by the toothbrush are reached and food residues stuck between the brackets are efficiently removed. It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of a gentle yet thorough approach to prevent any dislodgement of brackets or gum injuries.

Get regular dental checkups: It is imperative to keep up with regular checkups with your family dentist as they ensure that your child’s teeth are cleaned thoroughly and any possible issues are detected early on. Along with dental checkups, scheduled visits to the orthodontist should also be made to inspect, tighten, and adjust braces if required.

Keep nutrition in mind: It is essential to prioritize nutrition when creating a list of meals. Finding wholesome and equally nourishing alternatives is crucial in ensuring that their energy levels are sustained throughout the day.

Find substitutes for favorite foods: Wearing braces can pose a significant challenge for some youngsters. Encourage your child by reminding them that the braces are temporary and an essential measure towards achieving a beautiful, healthy smile. Enhance your eating habits by opting for delectable alternatives to your preferred foods. Sample fruity ice cream in lieu of gummy candy, tender chicken nuggets over crispy chicken strips, and wholesome fruit juice instead of carbonated beverages.


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