Food and braces

Food and braces

How can I eat and brush my teeth with all that metal in my mouth?

This handout is designed to give you information on what foods to avoid and how to eat different types of foods during the period you have orthodontic braces and wires. You will quickly realize that orthodontic treatment is not a punishment and that you don’t have to deprive yourself of everything you like. Following these instructions will allow you to go through treatment as quickly as possible and with a minimum of difficulty. Everytime a brace comes off or a wire breaks, treatment cannot proceed as planned and treatment time is lengthened. It is therefore necessary to notify your orthodontist so that everything can be corrected as soon as possible.

Why not gum?

You are allowed to eat almost everything except chewing gum. You may ask yourself: « Why not gum – I like it and all my friends who wear braces chew it? » It is not because we want to deny you or bother you – chewing gum causes orthodontic wires to fatigue much more rapidly. If one wants to break a piece of metal without cutting it with pliers, an easy way is to continually bend the wire back and forth in the same spot. Chewing gum has this same effect on the wire. It can also remove ligatures which helps to hold the wire into the braces as well as cause wire to come out of the braces in the back. This can allow teeth to move in the wrong direction and prolong treatment.

Special attention should be paid to how certain foods are eaten

Even though most other foods are permitted, special attention should be paid to how certain foods are eaten in order to avoid problems with your braces:

  • Anything which is cooked and becomes softer can be eaten normally (for example: well cooked potatoes or carrots, chicken, meat, etc.); be careful with meat not to take pieces that are very large because its dense nature can cause wires to be displaced; be careful not to chew down on bones in meat or chicken since they can easily dislodge braces off the teeth.
  • Anything which is raw and hard such as raw carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery should be cut into small rings, slices or sticks of a maximum thickness of 5 mm. Celery threads won’t get stuck in your appliances if you cut them into thin rings.
  • Regular potato chips can be eaten normally but hard or crispy chips should be broken up into small pieces and kept in the mouth for a short while to allow the saliva to soften them before chewing.
  • Pop-corn is very dangerous for orthodontic appliances; it is very important that, if you cannot resisteating it, to only take well-cooked pieces and to carefully crush them between your teeth without allowing the teeth to come into full contact. Unpopped or undercooked pieces should not be eaten because they are much too hard.
  • Dried hard cereals should be allowed to soften in milk.
  • Anything like chocolate or candies should not be bitten into or chewed. Hard candies will unglue braces and sticky candies can bend or dislodge the wires. For hard, soft or sticky candies let them melt in your mouth (it is even better because it lasts longer). For hard chocolate bars, break them into small pieces and let them melt in your mouth. Never forget to brush your teeth afterward. Soft chocolate such as Aero bars can be eaten normally but be careful if they may contain almonds or other nuts. Avoid candies such as caramels or jujubes.
  • It is not recommended to eat corn on the cob but rather to remove the corn with a knife.
  • Do not chew down on ice cubes since they are very hard.
  • You can eat nuts but only if they are no thicker than a half peanut or half almond. If they are thicker,break them into smaller and thinner pieces.
  • Be careful with certain bread crusts that are very hard and may break your appliances.
  • If you eat fruits with pits, be careful not to chew down on the pit; it is safer to remove the pit before eating; the same advice goes for olives.
  • If you wish to eat an apple, cut it into quarters and remove the centre.
  • Do not forget that pencils, pens, forks, spoons, fingernails and other hard objects are sometimes putinto the mouth; biting down on these can easily break the appliances.

Other instructions

Certain musical instruments have mouthpieces which contact the teeth when played. Bring the mouthpiece with you so that we can see where it contacts your teeth or appliances. This will permit us to better advise you.

It is equally important to protect your appliances during sport activities. Certain sports require the wearing of a mouthguard; it is obvious that boxing is not permitted. You can swim with your appliances since they will not rust.

Be careful not to get your appliances caught in someone else’s sweater. It’s both bad for your braces and the sweater. If something breaks please advise us even if it happens only a few days before your visit and even if there is no pain or discomfort. This will allow us to schedule our time properly. Please help us help you.

 

Breakage or discomfort

Your teeth may be sensitive during 2 or 3 days following each appointment, especially at the beginning of treatment. This is unfortunately a normal consequence and it is suggested that you have a softer diet during that time. If the pain is too intense you may take an analgesic such as Tylenol, Advil, etc.

There is no reason to be concerned during your orthodontic treatment. If something seems strange to you, do not hesitate to call. We will be happy to answer any questions or solve any problems you may have.

Wax sticks

The wax sticks which were given to you once the braces were placed only need to be used if your cheeks or lips become irritated. If this discomfort continues, please let us know so we can make the necessary adjustments. There is usually a period of adaptation during the first 7 to 10 days and the irritation (which often feels like a burning sensation on the lips and cheeks) will gradually disappear. During this period, try to avoid using the wax since this will allow your cheeks and lips to become more resistant; use the wax only if an ulceration forms on the tissues.

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