Although modern braces are more comfortable than in the past, there is still a certain amount of adjustment necessary. When braces are new, patients may experience irritation, sensitivity, and discomfort.
Still, braces are an important investment in your future, giving you the chance to enjoy a healthy, bright, functional smile for life.
We’ve put together a guide with tips on how to eat when you first get braces and the best foods for new braces so you can stay comfortable while working toward your beautiful new smile.
Tips on How to Eat When You First Get Braces
Although braces are typically associated with metal brackets, Invisalign is an increasingly popular option for straightening teeth. Both traditional braces and Invisalign include an adjustment period at first, or when switching to a new set of aligners.
When your braces are first put on, or when you first get aligners, you will likely experience tenderness and sensitivity. The braces are slowly shifting the position of your teeth, so it is normal to experience some discomfort.
If you have new braces or just switched to your next aligner set in the series, it is helpful to stick with liquid or soft foods. Cold foods can be especially soothing as they can help reduce pain and ease swelling.
Here are some tips for eating with braces:
- Take small bites and take your time chewing
- Opt for soft foods
- Avoid sticky, crunchy, or hard foods like popcorn or chips
- Cut food into small pieces
- Use your back teeth to chew
- If needed, ask your dentist about using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce tenderness and sensitivity
- You may notice your teeth fit together differently than they used to (if it feels awkward to chew, it is especially important to take your time so you don’t accidentally bite your lips or cheeks)
- Watch your sugar intake
Related Reading: A Complete Guide to Braces
What Are the Best Foods to Eat with New Braces?
Here are some of the best foods to eat with new braces:
- Smoothies — Whether you need a healthy breakfast, snack, or lunch, smoothies are one of the best foods to eat when you first get braces. Add some spinach, fresh or frozen berries, yoghurt, avocado, and any of your other favourite ingredients to a blender — and let the blender do all the hard work for you! Adding frozen berries makes for a soothing, cold smoothie that feels great on swollen, tender areas of the mouth.
- Chicken Noodle Soup (Or Other Soups) — Soup is a wonderful, healthy food for new braces. If you’d like to enjoy some crackers or bread with your soup, allow it to soak in the broth and soften a while before eating.
- Applesauce — Applesauce can healthily satisfy a sweet tooth and is extremely easy to eat with new braces.
- Scrambled Eggs — Looking for a healthy breakfast but worried about your sore, tender teeth? Scrambled eggs are an ideal food for new braces. Add cheese, sour cream, or salsa and you have a healthy, delicious breakfast that won’t hurt your tender teeth.
- Mashed Potatoes — Mashed potatoes are one of the best foods for new braces. Mashed potatoes are gentle on sore teeth and make great comfort food that is still nutritious. Add a little sour cream, cheese, or butter, and enjoy!
- Bananas — Bananas, especially very ripe ones, are easy to eat with sensitive teeth. They are also an excellent grab-and-go option for busy teens who need a healthy after-school snack.
- Ice cream — With its soft texture and cool temperature, ice cream can be incredibly soothing on tender teeth. The cold can help numb tenderness and reduce inflammation from new braces. However, ice cream is still high in sugar and should only be consumed in moderation.
- Yoghurt — Yoghurt is incredibly easy to eat with new braces. It is soft, cooling on tender teeth, and healthy. It requires zero chewing and makes a great first food with new braces. If possible, opt for a yoghurt with no added sugar or low sugar content.
- Fish — If you want to eat meat with new braces, chicken, pork, and beef may be too difficult to chew. Fish makes a great option due to its tender, flaky texture. Try boiled or baked fish as a way to enjoy meat, even if your jaw or teeth are still tender from new braces.
- Cooked Vegetables — Raw vegetables will likely be uncomfortable to chew with new braces. However, boiled or baked vegetables such as zucchini, squash, carrots, cauliflower, steamed greens, asparagus, and broccoli can provide you with important nutrients while still being gentle on tender teeth.
- Pancakes — Pancakes are soft, filling, and good food for new braces.
The Worst Foods for Braces
There are certain foods you should not eat with braces, since they may damage the brackets or cause discomfort.
Here is a list of foods that are not recommended to eat with braces:
- Hard candy
- Crunchy veggies (carrots, apples, etc.)
- Gummy bears
- Dried fruit
- Peanut brittle
- Corn on the cob (if you still want to eat corn with braces, use a knife to carefully cut the kernels off of the cob before you eat them)
- Ice or other non-food objects (avoid chewing on pens or your fingernails)
- Any other hard or sticky foods
Other Tips for Caring for Your Braces
With braces, it is crucial to maintain a good oral health routine. Here are some of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy if you have braces:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Ask your dentist for tips on how to floss with braces — you may find that flossing tools like water flossers are easier to use than traditional dental floss. Fortunately, Invisalign allows you to take your aligners out, so you can brush and floss with ease.
- Pay special attention to your brackets when brushing if you have traditional braces
- Be careful when brushing your teeth and take your time
- Use a mouthwash (ask your dentist for recommendations if needed)
- Brush your tongue once a day
- See your dentist for regular checkups and always bring up any questions or concerns to your dentist
Related Reading: Can I Wear a Mouthguard with Braces?
Do You Have Questions or Concerns About Braces?
It is normal to need some time to get adjusted to new braces. Be patient with yourself and opt for soft, liquid foods for the first few days. As you get used to your new braces, you can start enjoying other soft foods, such as meat, tortillas with cheese and refried beans, and more.
If you have any questions or concerns about braces, please contact us. Our team is always here to offer support or advice or to schedule a consultation for you.