Braces are an amazing feat of science, something which enables us to have confidence in our smiles and improve our oral health for the future. Having braces fitted also comes with a sizable amount of responsibility, including maintaining good oral health whilst they are fitted, attending regular check-ups and adjustments, and adapting your diet to ensure they withstand the length of your treatment.
Unlike Invisalign or other forms of removable brace, a fixed brace stays put for the duration of your treatment, which means that anything we put in your mouth can potentially impact your brace. For this reason, there is a list of foods that we here at Chorley Orthodontics, expert orthodontist in Chorley, recommend avoiding.
Why Certain Foods Should be Avoided with Fixed Braces
Fixed braces, like metal, ceramic and even lingual braces, although extremely tough, can be susceptible to damage by the foods and drinks we consume. Foods that are overly tough like crusty bread, hard sweets and raw vegetables can enforce too much pressure on the brackets and wires, causing them to break. Other foods that are chewy and sticky can get stuck in and around the brackets and wires, making it difficult to properly clean, therefore increasing your risk of bacterial build-up and plaque, which in turn, increases your risk of developing dental issues such as gum disease and cavities.
Foods that Should be Avoided in the First Few Weeks/ Days of Having Braces Fitted.
There is no definitive list of foods that should be avoided, but there are general rules to follow, especially in the early days of having your braces fitted. Foods with extreme temperatures such as ice cream and hot drinks and foods high in acidity like citrus fruits can irritate the mouth and cause sensitivity. Tougher foods such as thick cuts of meat and chunky bread rolls should be avoided in the early days as a significant amount of pressure is exerted onto the teeth when biting down.
Foods We Recommend Avoiding and Why
Sticky and Chewy Sweets
Caramels, pastels, gummies, and even chewing gum can easily get lodged in your braces, making it challenging to clean them properly. Additionally, the sugary residue left behind can lead to cavities and decay. Opt for sugar-free alternatives or enjoy treats that melt in your mouth without sticking to your braces.
Hard and Crunchy Snacks
Popcorn, nuts, and ice cubes can potentially break or dislodge braces brackets and wires. Popcorn kernels can get lodged between your teeth and braces, leading to discomfort and potential damage. Instead, opt for softer alternatives like yoghurt, soft fruits, and honey.
Steaks or jerky can be challenging to chew with braces, potentially causing wires to bend or brackets to break. To enjoy protein without risking damage to your braces, choose tender cuts of meat or opt for alternatives like fish, poultry, or ground meats.
Hard Fruits and Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are essential for a balanced diet, some can be hard to eat with braces. Apples, carrots, and raw broccoli, for example, require a lot of crunching and can cause damage to your orthodontic appliances. To enjoy these nutritious options, try cutting them into smaller, bite-sized pieces or cooking them until they’re softer and easier to chew.
Hard Bread and Crusty Pizza
Biting into hard, crusty bread or pizza crusts can potentially damage your braces. Instead, choose softer bread options or enjoy pizza with a thin, soft crust. This way, you can satisfy your cravings without jeopardising your progress.
Corn on the Cob
Whilst it is a summertime favourite, it’s not a favourite of your braces. Trying to bite into a cob can put excessive pressure on your braces and wires, leading to discomfort and damage. Instead, remove the corn from the cob before eating it to make it easier on your braces.
Fizzy drinks and sodas can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities. With braces, it’s even more critical to avoid these sugary and acidic drinks, as they can also damage the brackets and wires. Stick to water, milk, or sugar-free beverages to keep your teeth and braces in excellent condition.
Is It Possible to Enjoy These Foods on Occasion?
Although this may seem like a lengthy list of foods that need to be avoided, they are not completely off the menu. Vegetables such as carrots can be cooked to make them softer and easier to bite or simply chopped smaller making them easier to chew and although we recommend staying away from nuts, it is possible to eat peanut butter or similar nut spreads.
After a couple of weeks, most people with braces find that the list of foods to be avoided has little impact on what they choose to eat daily.
Help! I’ve Damaged my Braces. What Should I Do?
If you have damaged your braces by eating something that isn’t quite suitable for you right now, there is no need to panic, most orthodontic emergencies can be quickly and easily fixed. Contacting your orthodontist as soon as possible is the best course of action as they can advise if they need to see you to assess the issue.
Fixed braces are very robust and can withstand more pressure than you may think, however, to prolong the effectiveness of your braces and to limit trips to the clinic, taking as much care attention over what you eat at home, is advisable.
Chorley Orthodontics: Specialist Orthodontist in Chorley
Open, honest, and regular communication with your orthodontist is what we recommend here at your local orthodontist in Chorley. At Chorley Orthodontics, we ensure that we keep our lines of communication with you clear during your brace’s treatment, through regular check-ups and adjustments. We understand that no one is perfect and every now and again you want to indulge in a certain food that you have restrained from, but which may cause damage to your braces.
We are a specialist-led orthodontist in Chorley and a friendly, passionate, and enthusiastic team of professionals who strive to provide the best orthodontic services, helping you achieve the smile you have always dreamed of.
Contact us today to book your free consultation.