Many people with new braces worry about what they can and can’t eat, and have concerns about maintaining proper dental hygiene during their treatment. While there are some small adjustments you’ll need to make to your eating habits and dental health routines to protect your braces and teeth against damage. The good news is that you can still eat most of your favourite foods – and keep your pearly whites clean – with a few simple tips.
Foods you can eat with braces
Following each tightening of your braces, your gums may be tender. Eating softer foods can help minimise tenderness during this time, but can also help to protect your braces over the course of your treatment. If you love harder foods such as apples and carrot sticks you can still enjoy these without biting into them by cutting them into smaller pieces and chewing with your back teeth.
Here are some great foods you can eat when you have braces:
- Soft fruits such as kiwifruit, bananas, oranges, watermelon, nectarines and tangerines
- Smoothies made with blended fruit and milk
- Soft and steamed vegetables, or mashed potato
- Yogurt, eggs and soft cheeses
- Soups and soft bread
- Treats like pancakes, pudding, jelly, ice-cream and muffins
- Grains such as noodles, pasta and rice
- Seafood and fish such as tuna, salmon and crab
- Non-tough or chewy meats such as chicken, beef mice and turkey.
Foods to avoid if you have braces
Some foods can damage your braces wires and brackets, which can be painful, inconvenient, and prolong your treatment. Steering clear of hard, sticky, tough, chewy and crunchy foods can help you keep your braces in great condition, and ensure they’re doing the best possible job to straighten your teeth.
- Caramel and sticky chocolate bars or sweets
- Chunky peanut butter
- Hard candy
- Nuts and seeds
- Bubble or chewing gum
- Tough meats such as jerky
Here are some foods you don’t have to avoid entirely, but that you should eat with care:
- Crunchy fruits such as apples and pears, which should be cut into bite-sized pieces
- Crunchy vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, which should be cut up or cooked/ mashed
- Chewy bread such as bagels, which should be torn into small pieces
- Stringy meats (it’s important to take special care with brushing and flossing after eating these).
How to floss and brush your teeth with braces
Good dental hygiene is more important than ever when wearing braces, since food particles such as sugars and starches can become lodged between the brackets and wires. This can cause bacteria and plaque to build-up and damage your tooth enamel – resulting in cavities and tooth etching.
To maintain great oral health during your orthodontic treatment, it’s important that you carefully brush, floss and thoroughly rinse your mouth after breakfast, lunch and dinner, and before you go to bed.
To brush your teeth while wearing braces, use a soft bristled toothbrush, brushing at an angle so that you feel the bristles under your gum line. Be sure to take care to including the areas mentioned, below and between each braces bracket. As a general rule of thumb: aim to brush your teeth and braces for around 2 minutes after each meal.
As well as regularly brushing your teeth, daily flossing is especially important while wearing adult braces. Flossing helps to remove food particles trapped in the braces, bands and wires, to reduce the risk of tooth etching or cavities forming. Choose waxed dental floss, which is less likely to get caught in your braces, and carefully thread it under the main wire of your braces when flossing your teeth.