Traditional metal braces use small brackets that are affixed to your teeth to hold thin wires in place. These wires are minutely adjusted over time to gently guide teeth into the proper placement and alignment within your mouth. Although braces don’t hurt, in the first couple days after getting braces you may feel a slight discomfort as your teeth and mouth begin adjusting to your new braces.
When you have braces, it is important to brush your teeth around four (4) to five (5) times a day. This means brushing after every meal if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck.
What you eat and do not eat will directly affect the condition of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Here are some tips on what kinds of foods you should avoid and how to carefully enjoy some of your favorites.
At times, it is difficult to break and chew certain foods. Eating hard foods can be harmful during orthodontic treatment because they can bend or break wires and even displace brackets. Avoid them entirely after you have had your wires changed, since teeth are the most tender at this stage.
Tips for eating hard foods:
- Fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet. If you want to eat apples, pears and peaches, do not directly bite into them. Instead, cut them into small pieces before consuming.
- If you enjoy eating almonds, cashews or peanuts, consider grinding them and adding it to cereals and yogurt.
- While eating chicken wings or ribs, remove the bones before consuming your meal. This prevents you from accidentally chewing on a bone and dislocating a bracket.
- While eating corn, remove the kernels from the cob to help prevent damage to your braces.
- Avoid chewing on ice. You can suck on ice cubes but never bite them.
Sticky and Sweet Foods
Sticky foods can get stuck to your teeth and braces, and can even result in the braces getting pulled off. Sweet, sugary foods are high in sugar and their consumption can lead to tooth decay.
Tips for eating sticky and sweet foods:
- If you enjoy eating candy, try sucking on them instead of chewing them. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water to avoid sugar buildup on your teeth.
Avoid chewing on gum. Gum can stick to braces and may be difficult to clean. It can also loosen the wires and brackets.