Dr. Hussain’s Braces-Friendly Food Pyramid: What Should You Be Eating With Braces?
Truly, no sound is more dreadful than the popping of a wire after crunching into an apple. Or when you realize the caramel from that candy bar has adhered itself securely to a bracket. Many patients have, understandably, strayed away from the super-strict snacking laws established by our orthodontic predecessors. Edmonton and Sherwood Park orthodontist Dr. Amer Hussain dissects the food pyramid and redefines the rules set for enjoying food while wearing self-ligating clear braces and lingual braces.
Grains: Starting from the bottom of our orthodontic food pyramid, grains are an essential part of anyone’s diet. And luckily for our braces-clad patients, this food group is generally safe to enjoy. Just be sure to soften tough crusted breads and bagels by warming them or tearing them into small pieces. After eating breads containing unground wheat, check for any small seeds that may be lodged in your appliance and promptly remove them.
Vegetables: It’s vital for kids to eat a hearty serving of vegetables every day, and braces shouldn’t prohibit them from doing so. Unfortunately, hard carrots, cauliflower and other uncooked and crunchy vegetables pose a major risk to the wellbeing of braces. Boil or steam tough veggies until tender and safely munch away!
Fruits: Once again, hard equates to bad. Never ever bite into a crunchy piece of fruit. The biting action loosens cemented appliances and pops wires with ease. However, delicious hard fruits such as apples or unripe peaches can be enjoyed by simply slicing them into bite-sized pieces. Small fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are an ideal snack for braces-wearers. Just remember to thoroughly brush after eating to dislodge any seeds.
Proteins: Meat lovers need not fret. Most meats are safe to grub on, but it’s significant to select more tender cuts when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Tough, stringy meats give your mouth, and your braces, quite the workout. Also, be sure to cut meat off the bone when enjoying ribs or chicken wings. Nuts can be a bit dangerous, but can be consumed if eaten cautiously and chewed with the molars instead of the front teeth. If experiencing any soreness from treatment, those in need of a protein fix are encouraged to reach for peanut butter or almond butter.
Dairy: This is the favorite food group of Sherwood Park orthodontics pro Dr. Hussain! Rejoice, wearers of braces. Patients are encouraged to consume plenty of milk, delicious yogurts and cheeses to load up on bone-fortifying vitamin D and calcium. Ice-cream and frozen yogurt, which can strengthen jaw bones while soothing pain in the mouth, are the perfect treat for orthodontic patients.
Sweets: Go ahead, satisfy those sweet teeth! Select desserts are acceptable to indulge in. Cakes, brownies, soft cookies and most other flour-based sweets pose no threat to the stability of braces. Ice-creams, smoothies and milkshakes are even recommended to help remedy soreness. However, there is a sugary line that must not be crossed. Sticky, ooey-gooey caramels, gums and taffies must be avoided by patients wearing all types of braces. These wreak havoc in the mouth and easily uproot brackets and wires. If the appliance manages to survive a taffy encounter, picking out the sticky substance from braces can be a real headache.
“Patients with braces can still enjoy a variety of snacks that are traditionally viewed as bad,” says Dr. Hussain. “Just remember, avoid anything sticky, and carefully eat hard foods by heating them or cutting them into small pieces.”
Every smile and treatment is unique, and these recommendations do have exceptions. Factoring in the average cost of Invisalign and braces, it’s wise to check with Dr. Hussain to ensure your personalized treatment doesn’t have any special food restrictions that can hinder the aligning process.