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How and What to Eat with Braces

One of the main concerns with any dental procedure is how you will manage to eat after it is done. Whether the treatment lasts just a couple of hours and leaves your mouth numb (like with a cavity-filling), or the procedure is installing braces that will be on your teeth for the next few years, picking foods that do not cause discomfort and are easy to eat is a top priority.

girl eating with bracesBefore the late 1990s, most people only had one option if they wanted straight teeth. That meant that every person with braces had the same instruction for proper care, what to eat, and how to live a normal life while their teeth adjusted. Nowadays, those same braces have gone through many dental advancements and people have another option – Invisalign. No matter which route you decide to take, eating and food can still be a question needing to be answered.

Adjusting Your Eating Habits with Traditional Braces

80% of all teenagers will have braces before the age of 20. That means that 8 out of 10 teens will have to adjust their eating habits to accommodate the change. With metal braces, eating has always been tricky. While a lot of people tolerate most foods just fine, some have sensitivities that limit what they can eat. Dentists recommend the following for eating with metal braces:

  • Avoid sticky foods like caramel or gum. These foods can damage the brackets of the braces and cause tooth decay.
  • Do not eat hard foods that break into pieces, such as popcorn. These small pieces can get stuck in the brackets of the braces, causing an increase in discomfort, cavities, and may even break the bracket itself.
  • Brush/floss after every meal to remove food that can get stuck in between teeth or under the braces, creating more opportunities for cavities to form.
  • Eat soft foods like potatoes, soup, or jello.
  • If you have sensitivity – take ibuprofen/acetaminophen to relieve inflammation or discomfort. You should also follow up with your orthodontist about your pain.

Another Option

If your budget allows, most discomfort that comes from traditional braces can be avoided with Invisalign. While you should still brush and floss after eating with Invisalign, your habits actually do not need to change all that much. Some dentists even say you can eat while wearing your aligners! Here are some benefits Invisalign has over traditional braces:

  • You can remove your aligners to eat and then replace them when you are done, allowing you to eat anything you did before you got braces.
  • Because Invisalign is custom-molded to your mouth, discomfort is unlikely.
  • There are no opportunities for brackets to get broken. While you should still avoid sticky and hard foods, it is not essential. Mainly, you should avoid these because they can cause cavities.
  • You’ll feel more confident with Invisalign. You won’t have to make mealtime a big deal anymore. You can eat as normal and still straighten your teeth.

Not Just Cosmetic

Many people think that getting braces is primarily for cosmetic purposes, which is false. There is nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful smile, but braces are good for more than just pretty teeth. Braces, whether traditional or Invisalign, can help treat overbites, underbites, crossbites, spacing issues, and more. This allows people to have a better quality of life by improving their speech, their ability to eat, and their overall mental health.

If you have questions that go beyond how you can make eating easier with braces, or you want more details about that, please contact us. We would also love to care for your dental health. New patients can schedule an appointment for an exam, cleaning, and x-rays for just $59!

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