How to Eat Right with Braces

When you first get your braces (and every time they are tightened) you may experience some measure of pain and discomfort. You might feel like the brackets and wires are poking and rubbing your cheeks and gums, and your jaw may ache from the pressure of the tight wires. You might also feel that your bite is not the same, and as your teeth begin to move, you may imagine that they are loose and will fall out if you bite or chew too hard. You suffer the most at holiday time when it becomes hard to eat your favorite foods. Most people adjust to their braces within two or three weeks, and can eat normally again. But until that happens, follow these tips to keep from starving while you wait for the pain and discomfort to subside:

  1. Avoid all nuts and seeds, as well as popcorn and sticky foods – It is never a good idea to eat foods that can get stuck on or between your teeth and braces. And if you chomp down forcefully on any very hard foods, you could actually break or pop off a bracket.
  2. Avoid stringy foods – Spaghetti can get wound around brackets or a palate expander. Foods that get stringy when they melt, like Mozzarella cheese, can also be problematic. If you want to eat these foods, make sure to cut them in very small pieces.
  3. Eat soft foods – Until you get used to your braces, stick to soft breads, fruits and vegetables. Choose ground beef or chicken dishes over thick steaks.
  4. Bite using the side of your mouth – You will feel more confident taking bites of large foods with the teeth on the sides of your mouth. Full burritos and tortillas may be out of the question for a while, since it is hard to bite into them from the side of your mouth without their contents falling or dripping out and making a huge mess.
  5. Use a knife and fork – It's best not to bite right into anything wrapped, as large pieces of food hidden inside might be hard to deal with. Use a knife and fork to cut your food into manageable bites. Even Sushi should be cut at least in half.

Whatever you are eating, remember to eat slowly. After a meal, treat yourself to something cold like a Popsicle or ice cream to relieve any pain you might be experiencing. Eventually your gums will toughen up, and you will get used to chewing with braces. Within a few months you should be able to go back to eating crunchy foods. For more information, contact Vernon Hills Dentist / Dr. Schussler D.D.S.