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What You Can & Can’t Eat with Braces

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

Braces come with a lot of extra care to ensure your treatment runs as smoothly and safely as possible. Broken wires due to eating the wrong foods can cause pain and expensive repairs. The wrong foods can also cause sugar and debris to build up, causing plaque to form, which then raises your chance of developing gum disease and cavities. Read on to learn what you can and can’t eat with braces to protect your smile.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

What Should you Eat at First?

When you first get your braces, you may feel discomfort until you adjust to having them in your mouth. Your gums and tongue may be sensitive. During this time, soft foods are best to ease yourself into your treatment.

After you get your braces, prioritize foods that are easy to chew, such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Soup
  • Soft fruit (cut up)
  • Soft cheese
  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Seafood

For those with especially sensitive mouths, many of these foods can be eaten without chewing. Young children with braces may want to focus on soup and pasta for a while, which they can squish with their tongues and not worry about anything getting stuck in their braces.

For fruits and vegetables, we’ll talk more about what to avoid below. However, make sure that any items in these food groups are cut up first or cooked until they’re soft. Avoid biting into a hard apple or carrot, as this can damage your wires.

What Should you Avoid at First?

As mentioned, your mouth will be sensitive following your first braces appointment. You should avoid aggressive flavors and temperature for a while, as well as foods that are thick or difficult to bite off. These include ice cream, steak or other thick meats, spicy food, and harsh citrus such as pineapple.

These are mostly fine to eat once you have adjusted to your treatment. However, some foods should be avoided the whole time you’re wearing braces. Take special note of these.

What to Avoid Completely While Wearing Braces

Braces can be damaged, which includes bent wires and detached brackets, and can cause all kinds of problems with your oral hygiene. Take special note of the following foods to avoid damaging your braces. Be even more cautious if your braces include rubber bands:

  • Anything hard that splinters in your mouth should be avoided, including nuts, popcorn, pretzels, kettle chips, and any hard candies. Don’t crunch on ice!
  • Anything sticky can cause all kinds of problems with your appliance. Avoid chewing gum, taffy, and other chewy candies like milk duds.
  • Anything too crunchy or fibrous can cause problems, even if the foods are healthy. This includes fibrous vegetables like celery, raw carrots and apples, and other tough foods.
  • Chewy foods pose a problem when you have to tear them with your teeth, such as pizza crust, bagels, and dinner rolls. Sub sandwiches and burgers can be problematic for this reason, as well as corn on the cob.
  • Soda and other sugary drinks cause plaque to build up, especially when you’re wearing braces. This can lead to tooth decay if not properly treated.

This may seem difficult to maintain since it covers a lot of common foods. While you can splurge on certain kinds of chips and a soda a couple of times per week, it’s best to avoid these food items as much as possible.

Candy is an especially harmful culprit when it comes to sticking, breaking, and bending braces. You don’t want an extra appointment because your bracket slipped off or your wire has bent into your gums, so giving up candy altogether makes the decision easy.

What You Should Eat Instead

Throughout your treatment, you can eat a ton of great food without worrying about your appliance:

  • Instead of chips and pretzels, eat light crackers with cheese or soft cookies.
  • Instead of fibrous vegetables or corn on the cob, eat cooked veggies and mashed potatoes.
  • Instead of apples, eat grapes, bananas, and strawberries. 
  • Learn how to make pasta interesting. Macaroni, ravioli, ramen, and other noodle dishes are a great fit for braces.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re considering braces for you or your child, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic care in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic options can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatments are right for you. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible care in your area.

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