How To Nom Nom With Braces
The best foods for brace-wearers
When you first get braces, you’ll probably notice that your teeth don’t touch each other the way they used to. This, obviously, is going to affect how you chew. With time, they’ll start getting into the right position and your mouth will continue to adapt to chewing more naturally.
You’ll have definite restrictions when it comes to what you can and can’t eat during the first few days (and even weeks) after getting braces. But most of them will gradually relax with time. Patience is an important part of the process. Your braces are, after all, an investment in your oral (and overall) health and come on, you can live without popcorn for a few months.
Your orthodontist will advise you on the foods you need to stick to. You can make life easier for yourself by finding one who practices in your neighborhood. Just click here.
If you’re a foodie, the first few weeks of braces won’t be easy. But your gums and mouth are more resilient than you realize and they’ll soon toughen up. Till then, these are the best possible foods for you to chew on.
Yogurt is high in calcium and protein which makes it a clever (and delicious) choice to strengthen and heal your teeth. The probiotics in yogurt provide ‘good’ bacteria which is a great weapon against the ‘bad’ bacteria that causes cavities. Pair yogurt with fruit for a healthy breakfast or snack. Avoid adding sugar to it though. Sugar causes a lot of damage to the teeth in the long run and that’s the last thing you need at this point.
Chicken noodle soup
Mac ‘n’ cheese has nothing on it. Chicken soup is the crowning glory of comfort food. It’s healthy, nourishing and delicious. It’s also the perfect food for first-time brace-wearers with a sore mouth. The broth contains minerals, collagen and gelatin which help strengthen teeth and bones. The protein and vitamins found in chicken soup will help your mouth to heal faster and the liquid texture of the dish will give your teeth and jaws a break from painful chewing. The noodles are so you get your fill of carbs (since bread and crackers are best avoided right now). The broth will soften them, making them easy to chew and swallow.
If your orthodontist (still don’t have one? Click here) is adamant about your sticking to soft foods for a while but you feel like something more substantial, say hello to sweet potatoes. Apart from the obvious fact that they are mindboggingly delicious and versatile, they are packed with vitamin A. Your teeth and gums are going to love Vitamin A. It maintains the mucus membranes and soft tissue as well as keratin, a protein that helps the formation of tooth enamel. Bake ‘em, fry ‘em, mash ‘em, steam ‘em, boil ‘em, enjoy ‘em.
Meats like beef, pork and chicken can be difficult to eat but fish will save you even without the loaves. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that lower the rates of gum disease by fighting inflammation. Fatty fish (salmon and Atlantic mackerel, for example) are good sources of vitamin D – the vitamin that helps your body to absorb and use calcium effectively. Calcium, we hope you know by now, is critical for protecting teeth, bone and gums. Fish meat is also softer and flakier than other meats so you’ll be able to eat it fine, no matter how sore your jaws and teeth are.
Cooked fruit and vegetables
Don’t eat them raw. Don’t. The crunch of raw fruit and vegetables can put too much stress on your brackets and wires, not to mention your jaw. But when you cook them (steam, bake, boil, whatever), they become soft enough to eat easily. The reason you want to add fruit and veggies to your diet is because of the antioxidant vitamins they contain. The vitamin C found in oranges (which you don’t have to cook) and other citrus foods protect gums from bacterial infection and leafy greens like spinach pack in a lot of folic acid which supports cell growth.
In terms of nutrition, when you think egg, you probably think protein as well. And you’re right. But eggs are also rich in phosphorus which, when combined with calcium and Vitamin D, builds strong teeth and bones. The best part about eggs though, is how versatile they are. You can scramble them, boil them or bake them. Have them poached, have an omelette or, if you’re feeling fancy, have Eggs en Cocotte. It doesn’t matter how you cook them really. They’ll always be soft enough for sore mouths.
There’s more to smoothies than hashtags like #instagood. Apart from being fun to make, they’re incredibly versatile. You can experiment with various combinations of fruit and vegetables, and get important vitamins and minerals in each time. The cooling temperature and semi-liquid texture of a smoothie will also bring you a lot of relief. As always, make sure you have a word with your orthodontist about your dietary restrictions. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. (For example, if you hate fish or eggs, what are the alternatives you can explore to get your dose of Vitamin D?) And if you don’t have an orthodontist, we’ve already mentioned that we can help you find one. Click here for a list of orthodontists in and around your neighborhood.