Getting braces is no light matter. Four million children in North America wear braces, and as many as 75% of children can benefit from them.

If you or your child needs braces, you should get them as soon as possible. But you shouldn’t rush the process. You need to know how you can start eating with braces without damaging them.

What should you do if you get Invisalign or removable braces? How should you eat in the days after your braces go in? What foods should you avoid, and how can you adjust other foods so you don’t break your braces?

Answer these questions and you can turn tips for eating with braces into a perfect smile. Here is your quick guide.

Be Careful With Removable Braces

You should always remove removable braces or Invisalign aligners before you eat. You risk getting them dirty or chipping them if you eat very hard or thick foods like steak or nuts. Follow the instructions and put them in a sturdy container so you can keep them intact.

You do not have to avoid any foods once you’ve taken your braces out. However, you need to brush your teeth before you insert your braces back in. Food debris can damage your braces and hurt your teeth if it is caught between your braces and teeth.

At a minimum, you should brush all surfaces of your teeth with your toothbrush. You can use toothpaste and water to kill bacteria and break down very small pieces of food. You should also floss if you have any food stuck between your teeth.

Learn How to Chew

It may be hard to eat with braces at first. Many people find it easier to chew food with the sides of their mouth, so try shifting the food away from your front teeth. Use your tongue and jaw to push the food over so you don’t strain your front teeth.

When you are putting food into your mouth, you should put it in at an angle so you bite into it with your side teeth. If you find this uncomfortable, you should avoid foods that you would eat using your front teeth. This includes pizza, sandwiches, and chips.

Slow down while you are chewing food. Do not talk while you are eating so you can break the food down into small pieces. Use saliva to make food softer and easier to chew.

Protect Your Mouth During the Early Days

After getting braces, your mouth may be a little sore or sensitive. Try to avoid eating anything in the hours after you’ve received your braces. You can drink water if you feel thirsty, but don’t drink any other drinks.

When you’re ready to eat, find foods that are soft and don’t hurt the sensitive areas of your mouth. Citrus and spicy foods can inflame the tissues near your braces.

Boiled or sauteed seafood, whole grains, and yogurt tend to work well. You can also eat pasta, as long as it is very soft and in thin sauces.

If a wire or bracket breaks, do not bend, pull, or touch it with your tongue. Put a piece of wet cotton or wax over it and schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist so they can put it in place. Talk to them about how you can care for braces and get a list of foods you can eat with braces.

Avoid Hard Foods

After a few days, you should be able to resume your diet. However, you need to avoid very hard foods until your braces are removed. Apples, carrots, hard rolls, and hard candy can break your braces and cause problems with your teeth.

You can eat hard fruits and vegetables by making modifications to them. You can make sauces out of apples, berries, and other fruits. If you want a drink, you can mix fruits with tea or juice in a blender and make a smoothie.

You should boil or steam hard vegetables. Chop them into small pieces so they cook quickly and become very soft.

You can eat cold foods, especially if your mouth is irritated. But you should never chew on ice, even with your back teeth, as they can break your braces and strain your jaw. When you want to cool down, eat a cold piece of fruit or a scoop of ice cream.

Avoid Sticky and Stringy Foods

You should avoid any food that can stick to or get caught in your braces. This includes chewing gum, cheese, and candy. Even if you chew these foods with the sides of your mouth, you risk damaging your braces.

You should also avoid sugary foods. Plaque can feed off of sugar and grow inside your mouth, which can make your dental care very difficult.

If you get food stuck on your braces, you can use a piece of floss to pull or nudge it out of place. Be very gentle and don’t apply too much pressure. If you can’t reach the food or if the food is stuck firmly on your braces, you can use a toothpick.

Figure Out Eating With Braces

Eating with braces isn’t complicated. If you have removable braces, you must remove them before you eat. If you have permanent braces, you should be gentle with them.

You can eat most foods, but you should be careful with hard fruits and vegetables. Boil, mash, or bled them so they become soft. You should steer clear of sticky, stringy, or sugary foods, even if you are not using your front teeth.

Once you know how to eat, you can get great braces. White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics serves Kentucky patients and families. Find a location near you today.