A course of orthodontic treatment represents a significant investment of financial resources. Not to mention all the time invested in consistently following a good oral cleansing regime, attending regular dental check-ups, along with all the necessary appointments where treatment is monitored and revised as needed. Orthodontist and dental professionals want their patients to have a successful outcome, not just to straighten their teeth, however, but to honor the significant amount of time and money that a patient or their parents will spend during a course of treatment. In order to ensure a timely outcome of the entire orthodontic process, as well as the preservation of the effectiveness of the physical components of orthodontic hardware, dental professionals offer a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to healthy foods for braces wearers, and which foods are best avoided.
Why Food Matters
By the time a patient is fitted with braces, they likely already know that regular brushing, dental check-ups and the avoidance of sugary foods is good for their teeth. After a person is fitted with orthodontics, however, there are several other factors that come into play when it comes to making good food choices–and a lot about making the right choices–centers around the texture and rigidity of a given food when in its natural state.
Although the individual components that braces are made of are strong materials, the brackets, wires, and sealants used in orthodontic treatment still remain sufficiently vulnerable to foods that are very sticky, dense, or have either a hard exterior or interior. If a braces wearer does not avoid challenging foods, they will likely delay their treatment process by damaging their orthodontic hardware. In addition, even if a food is softer, if it is very acidic or sugary, consuming it increases the likelihood of tooth decay since wearing braces does make maintaining good oral health more challenging.
Foods to Avoid
Once fitted with braces, patients need to become more conscious about the rigidity and texture of the foods they eat. If a food is hard to bite down for those without braces, then it is definitely one to avoid by those who are wearing braces. This includes substances such as ice, along with foods such as apples, carrots, nuts, corn on the cob, hard candies, and the like. Foods like require a lot of tearing and chewing such as soft caramels, pumpernickel bread, bagels, tough meats, and other such foods should also be avoided. Popcorn is another no-no for braces wearers. Even though parts of it may be soft, biting down on a stray unpopped kernel can damage wires or brackets, and the remnants of popped kernels can become lodged in and around hardware and underneath the gum line.
Wearing braces also makes maintaining good oral health more challenging. This means that sugary or acidic foods tend to leave behind residue that attaches to orthodontic hardware, as well as areas of the mouth even more difficult to reach after becoming fitted with braces. Sugar-laden foods and drinks, as well as highly acidic foods (and drinks) such as oranges, lemons, or anything containing vinegar, should also be kept to a minimum.
There are some foods that in their natural form would likely wreak havoc on orthodontic hardware. However, sometimes these foods can be modified so that they become manageable for those wearing braces. For example, eating corn on the cob becomes feasible if it is simply sliced off the cob prior to eating. Apples and other hard fruits or vegetables can be sliced into manageable pieces. As long as their interior has a soft texture, they should be fine for a braces wearer.
With so many food choices available today, it’s easier than ever to find healthy foods for braces wearers that are delicious options that orthodontic wearers can enjoy. Thin cucumber slices with hummus make for a healthy snack, as well as guacamole or avocado drizzled with a little olive oil on a soft cracker. When a craving for sweets occurs, try some sugar-free pudding or sugar-free ice cream that does not contain nuts or any ribbons of gooey caramel.
By avoiding food that is difficult to chew, along with sugary and acidic foods, patients can rest assured they are doing everything they can to protect their braces and keep their treatment plan on track. To begin orthodontic treatment, schedule a complimentary consultation today!