Eating with Orthodontic Appliances
There are certain dietary habits that are known to cause orthodontic appliances to break, as well as increase the risk of dental disease. Teeth move best in a healthy environment and in individuals with excellent overall health, so be sure you have a well-balanced diet.
If you have orthodontic appliances on your teeth, you must use caution when selecting foods to eat and also while eating. So, it is up to you to ensure that you are eating healthy foods to keep your orthodontic appliances in proper condition and to improve your overall health.
Why Should I Be Careful When Eating with Orthodontic Appliances?
Foods and drinks that may cause dental caries (cavities) should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky food is to be avoided because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage. This type of food sticks to braces and remains on your teeth for long periods of time. If food or drinks high in sugar content are to be consumed, we advise having them with regular meals or at one particular time of day. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place immediately afterward. Between-meal snacks should be confined to foods without refined sugar and followed by brushing or vigorous rinsing.
Braces are attached to your teeth with an adhesive that will typically withstand the forces of eating. However, braces can be dislodged, and wires bent or broken while eating certain foods. It’s essential to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.
What Foods Should I Avoid When Eating with Orthodontic Appliances?
In most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. It’s best not to eat hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. You should also refrain from nail-biting and chewing on foreign objects such as pens. Here is a partial list of foods that are appealing but dangerous to eat during orthodontic treatment:
- Sticky food or candy of any kind – taffy, caramels, Tootsie Rolls, Now and Laters, Gummy Bears, caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard food or candy of any kind – Jolly Ranchers, pizza crust, hard pretzels, beef jerky, Doritos, Fritos, Corn Nuts, other types of nuts, raw carrots, hard candies
- Foods high in sugar content: Cake, cookies, ice cream
- Foods that require biting into: Corn on the cob, apples, carrots
What Foods Are Recommended to Eat if I Have Orthodontic Appliances?
While you will have to avoid certain foods if you have orthodontic appliances, there are still plenty of healthy and delicious food options available to you. Some of the best foods to eat if you have orthodontic appliances are:
- Popcorn that doesn’t have kernels
- Bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits without pits
- Light crackers or cookies
- Mashed potatoes
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Ravioli, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and other noodle dishes