April 19, 2023
Over the years, braces have earned the reputation of being reliable, durable, and able to solve even the most complex orthodontic cases. Unfortunately, however, they have also started to become known for their restrictions on a person’s diet. At Dudley Smiles, we understand how important food is to bring comfort, joy, energy, and excitement to your everyday life and its critical role as a way of exploring other cultures and bringing people together. While it is true that your diet does need to be modified, you might be surprised how little is changed and how many options are still available. Before we get into that, we want to discuss why you need to switch up your lunch order to help you feel motivated to make—and abide by—the changes.
Why Does Your Food Matter?
Though traditional metal braces and newer clear braces are stronger than ever, they are not invincible and need your help to stay in excellent condition throughout treatment! One of the easiest ways to maintain braces is to adjust your diet.
You do not want to bite into food with your front teeth and should avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy food. Eating these kinds of food can damage your brackets and wires, potentially causing you unnecessary pain and discomfort. They can also get stuck in your appliances and be hard to remove, and your oral hygiene routine will become frustrating or challenging when this happens consistently. If your routine causes negative emotions, you will be less likely to thoroughly clean your teeth, gums, and braces. A mouth that is able to build up bacteria and plaque will be vulnerable to oral health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions that can cause temporary or permanent damage to your smile.
Eating a diet approved by Dr. Dudley can help you avoid orthodontic emergencies, prolonged treatment time, and preventable oral health problems. Over time, your urge to eat these off-limit foods will decrease, and your new diet won’t feel so weird. If it helps, maybe you can find solace in the promise that the restrictions are only temporary, and the more you follow your “braces diet,” the sooner you will be able to eat the food you crave.
What Can I Eat With Braces?
Are you reading this blog and rolling your eyes at every time we have previously said that metal and clear braces are durable? Do you feel like they can’t be that durable if you have to alter your diet? Let us explain! Your braces are tough and stain resistant, but if you continuously expose them to a lot of pressure they are not supposed to handle, they weaken.
Think of your braces as a powerful video game character. Your player can easily survive small battles, but your character loses strength and becomes damaged whenever you encounter a bigger, stronger opponent. When you get to the “big boss,” your player is less likely to make it due to past injuries.
Now, think of every battle as food. The “smaller” battles are food you can eat, and the more formidable encounters are the food you aren’t supposed to eat. Every obstacle becomes more of a challenge than the last, even if it seems like it should be harmless. Eventually, your character loses—AKA, your braces break.
To protect your braces, cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces and stick to soft food that is easy to chew and won’t put too much strain on your appliances. For example:
- Soft, Boneless Meat And Seafood
- Vegetables Softened By Steaming Or Boiling
- Soft Fruits
- French Fries
- Mashed Potatoes
- Sugar-Free ADA-Approved Gum
- Soft Bread
- Corn off the cob
- Ice cream
- Soft Cheeses
The above list does not contain specific options because many items have endless variations. It helps if you try to consider braces as an excuse to try things you would not have otherwise considered, such as a soup you always see on the menu but never order at your favorite Issaquah restaurant. You’ll find it hard to get bored of all the flavors available, and you can still consume all your daily nutrients.
Doesn’t that sound like a lot of food you can still look forward to eating and cooking every day? There are even a few ways to satisfy your sweet tooth! Please just remember to do a good job of brushing and flossing afterwards!
What Can I Not Eat With Braces?
Now, let’s look over specific examples of what you should not eat with braces.
- Hard Taco Shells
- Ice Cream Cones
- Taffy, Caramel, And Other Sticky Candies
- Hard Candies, like lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, et cetera
- Hard Crackers
- Beef Jerky
- Ice Chewing
- Stringy Vegetables Like Celery And Other Hard/Crunchy/Raw Vegetables
- Crunchy Or Hard Whole Fruits
- Hard Cough Drops (at least don’t bite them!)
- Corn On The Cob
- Hard, Fried food
- Anything That Requires You To Bite With Your Front Teeth
While we want you to continue to eat your fruits and veggies – please be aware that some you can’t eat without some modification. For example, you can’t bite straight into an apple or carrot – so please cut them up into bite sized cubes. We also recommend limiting your intake of sugary food and beverages, even if they won’t harm your braces, to protect the health of your teeth and gums.
Extra: If you have clear braces, avoid foods that could stain (coffee, tea, wine, tomato-based products, etc.) and rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove any residue that could cause discoloration.
Visit Us At Dudley Smiles To Learn More!
Whether you or your family is a first-time or returning patient, molding your lifestyle around your braces can be intimidating, and it can be stressful to feel like you don’t know the right answer. Fortunately, the entire Dudley Smiles team is in your corner to help you make the right decision! Call us at any time to ask questions! If necessary, our team can help you schedule an appointment with Dr. Dudley for a more in-depth analysis of your question.
We have been proudly serving the Issaquah community for years and are excited to show you the excellent care we are known for! If you are ready to discover if you qualify for braces, contact us today to schedule a free in-person or virtual consultation!