How Does Wearing Dental Braces Affect Your Eating Habits?

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More often than not, patients who are informed that they will have to wear dental braces for a while get depressed on the thought that they will be living on pureed, blank foods for the entire duration of the treatment. Granted, the importance of preventing damage to various small parts of the braces as well as your teeth cannot be stressed enough.

However, despite the popular belief, dental braces don’t necessarily mean you have to resort to preparing your meals in a blender from now on. Let’s explore the foods you can and can’t eat during the treatment period, so you achieve optimal results.

• Nuts and seeds

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Nuts and seeds are hard and relatively small, meaning they have the main two features braces wearers should avoid. In the event that you simply can’t stay away from type food group, then replace the traditional variants with nut spreads like peanut butter or almond butter. In addition, you can grind your favorite nuts/seeds assortments and use it as a yogurt topping.

• Meat

Providing proteins and iron, meat is an essential food group that constitutes a critical component in a balanced diet, especially for children. Unfortunately, the fibrous texture of meat usually poses numerous issues for braces wearers, particularly because it’s difficult to chew properly. First off, it is best to avoid eating meat with a stringy texture, as it can become lodged between your teeth and/or brace.

In addition, it is highly recommended to stay away from tough cuts. Considering that this type of meat is difficult enough to chew without braces, though cuts can loosen the bands around the molars. During your orthodontic treatment, you should stick to lean, tender cut meats that you slice to bite-size pieces.

• Hard fruits

Even though everyone knows that fruits are essential to a healthy diet, when you are wearing braces, eating some of them can pose a real challenge. To be more precise, because they come in direct contact with the teeth, braces will make it difficult for you to eat hard fruits, such as apples for instance. The solution is actually simpler than you thought: instead of attempting to take a bite out of an apply, cut it into bite-size pieces so you can chew them using the back teeth.

• Vegetables

Similar to hard fruits, certain vegetables will require additional preparation before they can be safely eaten by people wearing braces. If you enjoy carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, then simply slice them to bite-size pieces so they are easier to chew. An equally efficient alternative would be to boil them, as the process softens the vegetables.

• Grains

Due to their soft texture, grains are often considered an easy food group for those wearing braces. While this applies to most of them, certain foods like hard-crusted breads, bagels or small seeds can be problematic. To avoid damage to the braces and your teeth, you can soften the breads with hard crusts by warming them up in an oven for one minute. Take note that it’s recommended to steer clear of small grains or seeds, as they can easily get stuck between your teeth or parts of the braces; in general, they are difficult to remove without professional help.

• Dairy products

Dairy products are by far the most adequate choice for individuals wearing braces. In addition to ensuring an optimal intake of calcium, vitamin D and potassium – meaning all the essential nutrients for strong bones and teeth – dairy products are also soft and require little to no chewing. The only issues reported by braces wearers with dairy are associated with eating soft cheese. Because the cheese can easily attach and get lodged between the teeth, it is preferable to prepare bite-size pieces. Alternatively, you can invest in a cheese string product that is easy to peel.

• Candy and sweets

In all fairness, candy and sweets in general are not classified as a standalone food group by nutritionists. However, considering that everyone enjoys having a piece of candy from time to time, it deserved a special guest appearance in this list. Unfortunately, candy causes damage to both the teeth and the braces. Furthermore, because teeth are more vulnerable to decay, watching your sugar intake is critical while wearing braces. All in all, candy in all its forms is best avoided during the orthodontic treatment.

What you should know

In the light of the aforementioned facts, it’s clear that eating with braces doesn’t have to be difficult and mundane. Because now you know they don’t bring so many limitations to your diet, and most importantly to your proper nutrient intake, make an effort to select from a variety of food and enjoy a balanced meal. After all, maintaining a healthy diet during the orthodontic treatment is equally important to the overall outcomes of the therapy.

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