Braces are a part of life for many people. Very Well Health mentions that just about 3 million American and Canadian teens have braces. Braces are complicated mechanical devices, but they are a necessity for many of us to ensure our teeth grow correctly. Some people may think that braces are just for show. However, crooked teeth are more than just a nuisance. It can lead to horrible outcomes for your teeth themselves.
When you first get braces at the best dentist in Royal Palm Beach, you might feel a little weird. The feeling is totally normal. Braces are not a natural thing, but they are needed to help your body grow and develop. Even so, they provide a lot of places for things to go wrong as well. That’s why seeing your braces dentist in Royal Palm Beach is so important. Chances are the dentist will tell you that you’re not allowed to each certain things. But why? And if we can’t eat those things, what are we allowed to eat?
The Guidelines for What Not to Eat
All over the internet, lists exist that tell you what you are allowed to eat with braces. Some of them are very extensive, and others are shorter and to the point. The thing they don’t mention is that they give you a list of the most common foods that you can’t have. Eating certain types of food made up of particular ingredients is one of the classifications. Another is the texture of the food. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) offers a broader view of the things that you’re allowed to eat when you have to deal with braces. They suggest three broad categories to avoid, namely:
Hard/Crunchy: Anything that requires you to bite into food with your teeth is generally bad for braces. Braces are a robust framework around your teeth. What this means is that if you have to bite into something hard, it puts pressure on the mechanism. Too much pressure and you could snap one of the parts. If that happens, you might be in for an emergency trip to the dentist’s office to see if any damage was done.
Sticky: Peanut butter, or caramel, for example. Medical News Today states that while eating with braces isn’t such a big deal, sticky foods may lead to problems. The reason why this is an issue is because of how tooth decay happens. If these sticky foods remain between the braces and the teeth, bacteria on the teeth might cause the enamel to break down. The result is that cavities form and the only thing that’s worse than having braces is having braces and holes at the same time.
Chewy: Dense foods that have high dough contents like pizza crust fall into this category. These foods can be damaging to braces even though they may seem very innocent. Part of the mechanism for braces are wires and rubber bands. Chewy foods can sometimes lead to bent wires and loose brackets. Additionally, if you’re eating things that have a crusty exterior, particles can get stuck between the braces and teeth, also leading to cavities.
Suggestions for Dealing with These Foods
There are simply too many tasty foods that fall into the broad guidelines to simply stop eating them. That’s why there are specific ways around the guidelines that those of us with braces can use. Among the ‘braces hacks’ that exist for eating, some of those food types are:
- For hard foods like apples or other solid fruits, cutting them up into smaller, bite-sized pieces may be a solution. The problems with firm foods occur with them pressing on the braces themselves, and by cutting them up, you don’t have to bite down on them
- For sticky foods like caramel or chocolate, the best solution (and probably the only one) is to limit how often you eat them. That doesn’t mean you cut them out altogether, but you lower the amount of it that you have. Additionally, you should brush and floss after each one of these snacks.
- Chewy dough is very bad, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up pizza. Soft-crust pizza is not bad in moderation, but the same applies to sticky foods mentioned before. Thorough brushing and flossing must happen after every time you eat these foods.
Foods in the “Definitely Not” Category
While there are things you can eat with braces that are both delicious and fun, there are a few that are out. Colgate mentions a few foods that you should avoid at all costs. Some of these include gum, tortilla chips, taffy, nuts, and popcorn kernels. No matter how much you try to work around the rules, those options WILL damage your braces. If that happens, it may force you to keep wearing braces long after you should have gotten them off.
Additionally, avoiding snacks with a lot of sugar is also a good idea. The sugar in snacks is the perfect way to cause a cavity. It’s even harder to brush teeth after meals with braces in, and the chance of sugar remaining on your teeth is high.
So Much for Fizzy Drinks Too?
Now hold on a minute…we don’t want to cut off sugary drinks completely. Do we? The truth is that these drinks do have a lot of sugar in them. The Oral Health Foundation also mentions including fruit juice on that list as well. Things are looking pretty grim for being able to drink anything that isn’t water. But all hope is not lost. Just like above, drinking fizzy drinks and things high in sugar both have the potential to bring about problems. But by following up consumption with proper brushing and flossing, you can stave off most of it. You might have to cut back on the amount you drink so that you won’t be stuck brushing and flossing all the time. But it’s a small tradeoff to be able to enjoy some orange juice now and again.
Alternative Snacking Options
Most of the snacks you’ve been used to up to this point are probably no longer allowed. However, there are a few excellent options that can be substituted, that will only be slightly different:
- Sugar-coated cereal is a “definitely not” food, but oatmeal is pretty decent and has a lot less sugar (if you put any in it).
- No more chewy snacks like Starburst, but you can have frozen yogurt, which can be tasty, with far less sugar.
- You can’t have well-done steak anymore, but you can have fish and other barbecued options like lamb.
- Replacing crispy-crust pizza is much more straightforward since we can substitute in grilled cheese sandwiches.
Bracing for a Lifestyle Change
Braces make you change the way you see everything. There’s a list of things you can’t have anymore (at least for a little while) and a list of things that are ‘safe’. Then there’s a massive collection of foods and drinks in the middle that is ‘conditional.’ The only condition is that you take care of your braces and your teeth after having them. It’s important to remember that braces aren’t permanent. They’re only around for a little while. Adapting to this sort of thing may take some time, but in the end, you’re doing this for your own good. Meanwhile, who knows, you might even discover something that you enjoy eating that is within the safe list. The only way to know for sure is to try.