When you take the first steps towards better oral health and a straighter smile, it can be really exciting! Orthodontics can improve your life in many ways, and that’s certainly something worth celebrating. That being said, orthodontic treatment also comes with quite a few changes. While the majority of these are relatively minor, some do take a bit of getting used to, like the food restrictions that accompany braces.
Food restrictions can be one of the biggest learning curves when it comes to being a braces patient. In order to keep your appliance and your teeth safe throughout the treatment process, you’ll need to avoid certain types of food until your braces come off.
Here at Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics, we’re committed to giving you a rewarding orthodontic experience that’s as stress-free as possible. To help you get a handle on your new dietary changes, we’ve put together a quick list of foods you can safely indulge in as a braces patient, plus a few tips to keep you going throughout the treatment process. Let’s take a look!
Pro tip: patience is key
Just like any worthwhile endeavor, orthodontic treatment takes time and may sometimes feel like it’s taking forever. We promise this part is only temporary! It takes patience to improve your oral health and your smile. If you can accept that you’ll have a few limitations while undergoing orthodontic treatment and follow all our recommendations, you’ll have a beautiful new smile before you know it!
Pro tip: healthy teeth equal a healthier mouth
Oral care is important for all of us, whether we’re undergoing orthodontic treatment or not. But when you’re a braces patient, it becomes even more essential to maintain a good dental hygiene routine. We recommend brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing every night before bed. Taking care of your teeth and gums doesn’t stop there, though! Ideally, you should aim for at least eight glasses of water daily and a diet that’s rich and varied in vitamins and minerals.
Not sure what exactly that includes? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite foods that are good for your body and your braces below!
We all have days when nothing sounds good and eating anything just feels like a chore. There’s an endless variety of fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons to choose from, and just one smoothie can provide you with a quick blast of healthy vitamins and minerals. The temperature and texture can also help soothe any soreness or swelling you may be experiencing after an adjustment appointment.
Plain, Greek, topped with fruit, honey, or granola…however you prefer it, yogurt is a great choice when it comes to strengthening your teeth and improving your overall oral health, particularly when it has no added sugar. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, and even contains a boost of beneficial bacteria. Like smoothies, the texture can soothe your mouth if it’s feeling sore. Just remember to brush your teeth afterwards, since even plain yogurt still has some naturally-occurring sugars.
Chicken noodle soup
Soup is a staple for sick days, and is great for sore mouths, too, since it gives your jaws and teeth a break from chewing while still nourishing your body. Chicken noodle is one of our favorites! Not only is it delicious, but chicken broth is packed with minerals, gelatin, and collagen, which work to build up strong teeth and bones. The protein and vitamins in a cup of chicken noodle soup can even speed up the rate at which you heal, which is especially helpful if you’re experiencing any irritation.
Sweet potatoes may be relegated to holidays more often than not, but they’re an excellent choice any day of the week! They contain keratin, which helps tooth enamel form properly, and lots of vitamin A, which maintains the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. Sweet potatoes are healthy, filling, and still soft enough to eat even when your teeth and jaws are feeling tender.
There will be times throughout your treatment when putting any pressure on your teeth may be slightly painful, like immediately after your braces are put on or following an adjustment appointment. Even small pieces of beef, pork, or chicken may feel like too much work when you’re dealing with that kind of temporary soreness. Because fish is naturally soft and flaky, it can be a fantastic alternative to meat! Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are also a great source of vitamin D, which can help your body absorb and use calcium more effectively. This gives your oral health a boost since calcium protects the teeth and gums from disease!
Planning your menu in advance
The first few weeks you’re in braces are usually the toughest, but once your gums and mouth get used to them, you’ll be able to manage your diet easily! Remember to avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy since this can damage your braces or your teeth, and take care to maintain a good dental hygiene routine to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
Immediately after your braces are put on, and sometimes following an adjustment, you may find that your mouth feels slightly tender. This is only temporary and shouldn’t last more than a day or two, but during this time, you may want to stick to softer foods like soups, shakes, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, and applesauce. If you need a little pick-me-up, frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream can also give your mouth a chance to adjust to treatment. Just remember: everything in moderation, and brush thoroughly when you’re done!
Get the best in braces from Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics
Even though braces require a little bit of extra effort on your part, especially where food is involved, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the treatment process goes. Keep in mind that this is a major opportunity to make changes to your oral health that will benefit not only your smile, but many other aspects of your life!
If you’re in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas, we’d love to meet you and share more about how orthodontics can give you a smile worth sharing. Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation, and take the first step in your own orthodontic journey!