Braces are a popular orthodontic treatment that can correct misaligned teeth, bite problems, and other dental issues. While braces are an effective way to improve oral health and enhance your smile, they come with some lifestyle changes. One change you’ll need to embrace is the kind of food you can eat.
You can eat chocolate with braces, but you’ll need to be cautious so the chocolate doesn’t get stuck or damage your braces. And chocolate isn’t the only food your should watch out for. So if you want to keep your braces clean and in great shape, pay attention to the foods you eat.
Chocolate & Braces
Braces come with a list of foods to avoid or at least limit during treatment, but fortunately, chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation. The type of chocolate matters, as you should avoid chocolates made with caramel or nuts. Sticky or hard ingredients could damage your braces’ brackets or wires.
Opinions are split on what chocolate is least harmful to teeth with braces. Milk chocolate tends to be softer than dark chocolate, but dark chocolate has a lower sugar content. When sugar mixes with saliva, it creates a mild acid that can sit on your teeth and damage your enamel, leading to cavities or gum disease.
Braces are notorious for trapping food. So brush around your braces carefully after enjoying your sugary snack.
Safe Foods for Braces
Your braces have a lot of work to do, so you’ll want to avoid eating anything that could damage them. This includes any hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy foods. Soft foods are your friend, especially when you first get braces and your mouth is still sensitive.
Some good foods to eat when you first get braces include:
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft cheeses
Generally, focus on eating things that are soft and easy to chew. Once the tooth sensitivity has faded, you can return to typical meals. Still, avoid things that may damage or get stuck in your braces.
Soft fruits and vegetables are good healthy snacks for people wearing braces. For example, ripe pears and peaches are usually soft enough, but an apple might be hard to bite with your brackets. Berries are also soft fruits that can be excellent when your teeth hurt.
Of course, you’ll want to ensure you’re still getting all your daily intake of nutrients, so don’t avoid fruits and vegetables. Instead, cut fruit into bite-sized pieces and cook veggies until they’re tender and soft.
For grains, you should eat ground whole-grain bread that doesn’t have any seeds that could get stuck between your brackets or wires. Meat can be hard to chew, but tender meats such as chicken, fish, and lean pork or beef can be good protein. However, avoid eating meat off the bone as it could pop off a bracket. Or consider soft tofu as a vegetarian option.
Foods to Avoid
Food that can get stuck in your braces or break your brackets should be avoided. A breakage can be dramatic and set your treatment back, but it can be just as harmful to have food stuck in your braces that you can’t clean out. Braces have a lot of hidden nooks and crannies where food can sit and slowly wear through your enamel.
In general, avoid these foods during your time with braces:
- Chewing gum
- Hard, chewy, or crunchy candy
- Pizza crust
- Hard grains such as bagels
- Raw, crunchy vegetables
- Hard fruits
Some people chew on ice as a form of fidgeting, but that habit can be hazardous to your braces.
It can be hard to cut some foods out of your diet completely, so try to find alternatives you can still indulge in. For example, nuts and seeds are very hard and small, so they can get stuck in your bands. So instead, a nut spread like peanut butter can replace your favourite nuts at mealtime.
You’ll also want to avoid excess sugar whenever possible. Of course, you can still have treats, including chocolate, but be mindful of how much sugar you’re eating so it doesn’t accumulate around your braces and lead to tooth decay.
Everyone should brush their teeth at least 2 times a day. But if you have braces, you should be vigilant and brush thoroughly after a meal.
Finding Your Sweet Smile
It can be hard to say no to chocolate. Still, sometimes you have to consider what it means for your teeth. Soft chocolate might not damage your braces, but it’s full of sugar that can hide in your braces.Don’t avoid the little treats that get you through the day, even if you have braces. If you’re still unsure what you can eat with braces, contact our trusted team at Shawnessy Dental Centre.