Taking the first steps in your orthodontic journey is exciting. After all, you’re going to be working towards better oral health and achieving the straight smile you’ve always wanted. That’s certainly worth celebrating!

However, orthodontic treatment also comes with quite a few changes. While most of these are relatively minor, some can take a bit of getting used to. One of the biggest learning curves for patients is the food restrictions that accompany braces. To keep your appliance and your teeth safe throughout the treatment process, you’ll need to avoid certain types of food until your braces come off.

Here at Booth Orthodontics, we want to give you a rewarding orthodontic experience that’s as stress-free a possible. To help you get a handle on your new dietary changes, we’ve compiled a list of what you can eat with braces, plus a few tips to keep you going throughout the treatment process. To learn more, keep reading below!

Patience is key

Braces are a big investment in terms of your time and finances, and it can sometimes feel like treatment is taking forever. We promise this part is only temporary! Patience really is an important part of improving your oral health and your smile. Accept that you’ll have a few limitations while undergoing orthodontic treatment, follow all our recommendations, and before you know it, we’ll be removing your braces and revealing your beautiful new smile!

teen patient smiling

Healthy teeth = a healthier mouth

Oral care is important for everybody, whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not. But when you’re wearing braces, it becomes even more imperative to maintain a good dental hygiene routine. We recommend brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing every night before bed. Taking care of your teeth and gums doesn’t stop there, though! You should aim for at least eight glasses of water daily and a diet that’s rich and varied in vitamins and minerals.

To help you out with that, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite foods that are good for your body and your braces.

Plain, Greek, with fruit, honey, or granola…however you prefer it, yogurt that has no added sugar is a great choice when it comes to strengthening your teeth and improving your overall oral health. Yogurt is also high in calcium and protein, and even contains an extra boost of beneficial bacteria! The probiotics found in yogurt can help keep bad bacteria away from your gums, and the smooth texture can soothe your mouth if it’s feeling sore after you have an adjustment appointment. Do remember to brush your teeth afterward, though, since even plain yogurt still has some naturally-occurring sugars.

Chicken noodle soup
Soup, in general, is a staple for sore mouths, since it gives your jaws and teeth a break from chewing while still nourishing your body. We love chicken noodle! Not only is it delicious, but chicken broth is packed with a variety of minerals, as well as gelatin and collagen, all of which work to build up strong teeth and bones. And the protein and vitamins can even speed up the rate at which you heal, which is especially helpful if you’re experiencing any irritation.

Sweet potatoes
Even though sweet potatoes are relegated to holidays more often than not, they’re an excellent choice any day of the week! They contain keratin, which helps tooth enamel form properly. They’re also an easy way to get your RDA of vitamin A, which maintains the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. Sweet potatoes are healthy but filling, and still soft enough to eat even when your teeth and jaws are sore.

Any time your mouth is feeling tender, putting any pressure on your teeth can be painful. Even if they’re easy to cut through, chewing beef, pork, or chicken may feel like too much work when you’re dealing with soreness. Because fish is naturally soft and flaky, it can be a fantastic alternative to meat! Some studies have even shown a link between the omega-3 fatty acids in fish and lower rates of gum disease, thanks to their inflammation-fighting properties. Fatty fish is also a great source of vitamin D, which can help your body absorb and use calcium more effectively. This gives your oral health a boost since calcium protects the teeth and gums from disease!

Smoothies are the perfect choice for days when nothing sounds good and eating anything can feel like a real chore. There are countless fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons to choose from, and just on smoothie can provide you with a quick blast of healthy vitamins and minerals. The temperature and texture are also helpful in soothing any soreness or swelling you may be experiencing.

Planning a menu in advance

The first few weeks you’re in braces tend to be the toughest. But once your gums and mouth get used to them, you’ll be able to manage your diet like a pro! Anything too crunchy or too chewy will need to be avoided while you’re in braces since they can stick to your brackets, bending or even breaking them. They also make it much harder to clean your teeth effectively, so steer clear until you’ve finished your treatment.

You’ve probably noticed us mentioning soreness and achiness quite a bit above, but don’t worry! Immediately after your braces are put on, and sometimes following an adjustment, you may find that your mouth feels slightly tender. This is only temporary and shouldn’t last more than a day or two. During this time, it can be helpful to stick to softer foods like soups, shakes, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, and applesauce. If you really need a little pick-me-up, frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream can also give your mouth a chance to adjust to treatment. Just remember: everything in moderation, and brush when you’re done!

Get the best in braces treatment from Booth Orthodontics

Even though braces require a bit of extra effort on your part, especially where food is involved, the treatment process will go by quickly. This is a major opportunity to make changes to your oral health that will benefit not only your smile but many aspects of your life. If you’re in Homer Glen or the surrounding community and are ready to get started on your orthodontic journey, get in touch with us today! We’d love to schedule a FREE consultation for you.