Some orthodontists have a very specific list of what foods you can eat and what foods you cannot eat that is given to patients at the beginning of treatment. Personally, I give a list of the foods we most often have problems with but try to avoid long detailed lists and focus more on principles to follow that will minimize any complications with treatment. This approach was inspired by a patient who once came in with a broken brace who had been asked to avoid Hot Tamales but instead ate Mike and Ike’s – a different flavor of the same candy! The “glue” that is used to place the braces is designed to be strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of chewing, but not so strong that it damages the teeth when the braces are removed. Some of the braces can get loose when really hard or sticky foods are eaten which acts as a safety mechanism to protect the teeth. This is the reason for the need to be a little careful about what you eat while wearing braces. I simply tell patients that anything really hard or sticky should be avoided, but we don’t expect you to eat soup for the duration of your treatment. Ice chewers and taffy lovers are going to have problems. However, most foods can be eaten without any problems with some simple modifications – corn on the cob should be removed from the cob first, apples should be sliced before eaten, etc.
One of the major advantages of Invisalign treatment compared to traditional braces is that there are no diet restrictions because the Invisalign aligners are removable. If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, however, you will find that with a little creativity most of your favorite foods will work well with your braces.
One side note on gum chewing – I actually encourage chewing an occasional piece of sugarless gum in my office because the chewing stimulates the flow of saliva which protects the teeth from decay. There also are studies that have shown if sugarless gum is chewed immediately after the placement of braces, it stimulates the blood flow around the roots of the teeth and helps reduce soreness. There is a small risk that the gum can shift the wires in the initial stages of treatment, but the potential benefits far outweigh the potential hazards. In summary, any concerns you have about what you can eat during your orthodontic treatment should be laid to rest. You can achieve the beautiful smile you want with very little inconvenience. Please contact Budd orthodontics to schedule a free consultation and we can review the options that will work best for your own treatment.