Do All Braces Come with Dietary Restrictions?

Braces is a rite of passage for many teenagers, and with growing options in dental care, many adults choose to turn to braces so they can finally smile with confidence. There are many benefits to braces. While they can occasionally cause some discomfort—especially following a tightening—for the most part the process is painless and simple to adjust to. The one area of concern that receives the most complaints surrounding the use of braces is the associated dietary restrictions.

Unfortunately, wearing traditional braces does mean foregoing certain foods that are more likely to get caught in the braces and cause problems. Your orthodontist in Melbourne will breakdown exactly what foods are okay and what foods are off-limits when you get your braces. Following those rules for the entire time you have your braces will help ensure that you are maintaining optimal dental health and that you will have a pain free experience as you work to improve your smile. Of course, there are additional options, like the popular Invisalign, that can allow you to experience the same dental benefits without the dietary restrictions of traditional braces. Talk to your orthodontist at Melbourne Orthodontics to learn more about your options.

Dietary Restrictions with Braces

Traditional braces are affixed semi-permanently to the teeth, and the metal wires make it easy for food particles to get stuck. This can lead to discomfort, but it can also increase your risk of dental health concerns. Food particles stuck to the teeth and gums can increase your risk of cavity or gum disease. For these reasons, it is generally recommended that you avoid foods such as:

  • Popcorn
  • Chewing gum
  • Corn on the cob
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Most candy
  • Pizza crust
  • Bagels and other hard rolls
  • Hard crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Potato chips

These particular items are especially likely to become stuck to the wires of the braces, and in some cases could even cause damage to the braces that may result in pain and the need for emergency correction. Getting any of these types of foods stuck in your braces can be uncomfortable, but the biggest concern for your dental health is surrounding the candy and other sugary items. In fact, it is recommended that you also avoid soda as much as possible when you have braces so that you prevent the build-up of plaque on your teeth.

Additional Dietary Concerns with Braces

The above listed foods are items that really ought to be considered off limits for the duration that you have your braces on, but there are other foods that you may want to avoid time to time. Your braces will be tightened gradually over time as your teeth shift into their ideal place, and following each of those appointments you are likely to experience some level of pain in your mouth. It is helpful to avoid foods that are likely to exacerbate that pain during that time.

This includes items that are cold such as ice water or ice cream, but also items that are especially acidic, such as spicy foods like salsa, or even citrus foods, including fruits and juices. Avoiding these items for several days following a tightening will help to reduce the amount of discomfort that you experience.

Recommended Foods with Braces

It is encouraged that you follow as healthy a diet as possible with your braces, just as you would ideally follow in traditional circumstances. This would include a well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and whole grains.

The first few days and weeks after getting braces will be the most stressful and potentially painful of the entire experience, and during this time there are some foods that may be helpful to alleviate as much stress on your teeth as possible.

After first having your braces put on, it may be helpful to gravitate towards foods that are soft and easy to swallow without much chewing. This includes foods like:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Seafood
  • Soft cheeses
  • Pasta
  • Puddings

These restrictions and guidelines are necessary in most cases of traditional braces, but you should speak with your orthodontist in Melbourne, FL directly about the changes you may need to make to your diet once you get your braces. The use of invisible braces, like the Invisalign program, has its own set of dietary guidelines that you’ll need to take into account. Above all, work with your orthodontist at Melbourne Orthodontics to make sure your dental health is well cared for as you work to improve your smile. Give us a call today!