Choosing orthodontic treatment with braces is exciting, but it also brings quite a few changes to your life. Many are relatively small, but some can be a little more substantial, such as food restrictions. In order to protect your teeth and your braces, you’ll need to steer clear of certain foods until treatment is complete. While this can be one of the biggest learning curves to come with treatment, Dr. Jared Lee is here to make your orthodontic journey as stress-free as possible! To help you cope with challenging dietary changes, our team has put together a few tips, plus some of our favorite foods to eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Keep reading below to learn more!
Braces are a major investment in your oral health and a straighter smile. Although treatment may feel like it’s taking forever sometimes, we can assure you it’s only temporary! All your hard work and dedication will pay off when we reveal your beautiful new smile, but patience is key to this process. Accepting that you’ll have a few limitations for a while and following our recommendations will get you through the treatment process before you know it!
Healthy teeth equal a healthier YOU
We always put an emphasis on oral care, because it’s important whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not. However, it’s more imperative than ever to take care of your teeth and gums if you’re in braces. We recommend brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing every night before bed. Along with maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, you should aim to drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet that’s rich and varied in vitamins and minerals. To help you out with that part of the process, we’ve rounded up some of the best foods for your body and your braces!
Whether you like it plain or Greek-style, yogurt that has no added sugar is an excellent snack choice for strengthening your teeth and improving your oral health. Not only is it high in calcium and protein, it also comes with an extra boost of beneficial bacteria! The probiotics contained in yogurt can help crowd out bad bacteria in your gums, and the texture can be soothing for gums or teeth that are sore after an adjustment. Just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards since even plain yogurt has some naturally-occurring sugars.
Chicken noodle soup
You don’t have to be sick to enjoy a nice big bowl of chicken soup. This comfort food staple is perfect for an aching mouth, and the homemade version is even better. Chicken broth comes loaded with minerals, gelatin, and collagen, all of which are necessary for strong teeth and bones. The protein and vitamins can even speed up the rate at which you heal! Soup also gives your jaws and teeth a break from chewing, which can be helpful if you’re experiencing some tenderness.
Sometimes a sweet potato can really hit the spot. Because they’re filling, but still soft enough to eat when your teeth and jaws are sore, they’re an easy way to get your RDA of vitamin A, which helps to maintain the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. They also contain keratin, an agent that helps in the formation of tooth enamel. Whether you bake, fry, mash, steam, or even boil them, sweet potatoes are a great way to get a healthy boost of vitamins and minerals.
When your mouth is feeling a little sore, it can be slightly painful to put pressure on your teeth. Even chewing beef, pork, or chicken can feel like a lot of work! Because it’s naturally soft and flaky, fish can be a fantastic alternative! Not only that, but Harvard scientists have shown a link between the omega-3 fatty acids in fish and lower rates of gum disease. That’s because they naturally lower the kind of inflammation that occurs when bacteria irritates the gums. Fatty fish can also be a good source of vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb and use calcium more effectively. This is important for oral health since calcium protects the teeth and gums from disease.
Sometimes nothing sounds good and you just don’t feel like eating. Smoothies are perfect for the days when fueling your body feels like a chore! Choose from an endless variety of fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons to create a shake or bowl that provides you with a quick blast of healthy vitamins and minerals. The temperature and texture of a smoothie can also help soothe oral discomfort by decreasing swelling and creating a slight numbing sensation for your gums and teeth.
Menu planning when you’re wearing braces
We mention soreness and achiness a few times above for a reason. Immediately after your braces are put on, and for a day or two following adjustment appointments, you may find that your teeth, gums, and mouth in general feel slightly tender. During this time, many patients find it helpful to stick to softer foods. Soups, shakes, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, rice, and applesauce are all easy ways to give your mouth a chance to adjust during treatment. Frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream are also excellent treats, just remember “everything in moderation!”
In general, the first few weeks of braces tend to be the toughest. Once your gums and mouth get used to your new appliance, chewing and eating won’t feel so strange and you’ll be able to easily manage a modified diet! Throughout the treatment process, you’ll need to steer clear of anything too crunchy or too chewy, like nuts, seeds, chips, popcorn, and candy. These items can stick to your brackets, bending or even breaking them. They can also make cleaning your teeth thoroughly a much more complicated process!
Get the best braces treatment available with Dr. Jared Lee
We know that braces can sometimes take a little effort, particularly where food is involved, but you don’t have to suffer to achieve a straighter smile! The treatment process is only temporary, and it’s a major opportunity to make healthy changes that will benefit almost every aspect of your life. From your teeth to your health to your confidence, braces give you a reason to smile! If you’re in Oxnard, Santa Paula, or the surrounding communities, and are ready to embark on your own orthodontic adventure, get in touch today! We’d love to schedule a FREE consultation for you.