When orthodontic appliances limit what you can eat, it might seem more difficult to come up with smart, nutritional meals and snacks. It might be tempting to stick to a diet of ice cream and pudding, but your braces aren’t an excuse for unhealthy choices! There are so many tasty and healthy foods that are braces-friendly. Here are some great suggestions for nutritious foods that are safe for your braces:
Foods you can eat with braces
Try dairy options
If you eat dairy, we’ve got great news for you! Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk are both braces friendly and excellent for your teeth. Rich in calcium, casein, and phosphorus—which all strengthen teeth—some of these options also contain probiotics that can neutralize cavity-causing bacteria. For a healthy smile, we recommend sticking to low- or no-sugar yogurt and skipping out on heavily sweetened drinks, like chocolate milk or strawberry milk.
Leafy greens and soft vegetables
Vegetables are king when it comes to vitamins and minerals! While you may have to skip out on raw, crunchy options like carrots during orthodontic treatment, there are plenty of braces-friendly choices. Greens are loaded with folic acid, vitamins, and minerals that can strengthen your smile. Plus, veggies have a high fiber content, something that is linked with a boost to gum health.
It’s true that many fruits are sugary or acidic, but they can still be mouth-healthy! Options like seedless melons are full of water while others, including pears or grapes, promote saliva production and are packed with vitamins and minerals. If you do choose to enjoy some fruit, remember to rinse your mouth with water and wait 15-30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging your enamel.
Cooked fruits and veggies
Miss your favorite crunchy or hard fruits and veggies? You don’t have to skip them entirely. Instead of completely omitting carrots or foregoing hard apples, try steamed veggies or puréed fruit, like applesauce. You’ll still get all of the vitamin and mineral-based benefits—without risking damage to your appliances.
Tough or chewy meats like steak or jerky can damage braces. Try cooking with healthy chicken, fish, or ground turkey instead.
Looking for a tasty, filling breakfast? Oatmeal is a great choice when you have braces. It’s soft, so it won’t damage your orthodontic appliances. Plus, it’s a very nutritious food. If you want to add protein, try stirring in some peanut butter or almond butter.
Yogurt doesn’t require any chewing, so it’s great for braces. Plus, it’s packed with probiotics, healthy dairy, and nutrients! However, you should check to make sure that your yogurt flavor doesn’t have a ton of added sugar.
Looking for a protein-packed snack? Look no further than nutrient- and fiber-rich hummus! It’s a great way to fill up after school. Try eating your hummus with a soft veggie like red pepper or cucumber for an extra nutritional boost.
Pick your pizza crust wisely
Avoid crunchy or chewy crusts for your pizza. Enjoy a soft crust or cut the crust off for your safest smile.
Foods to avoid with braces
Hard, sticky, and chewy candies are always harmful to braces, as they can easily bend wires, chip teeth, break brackets, and lead to cavities. Soft chocolates as well as desserts like pudding or cookies are acceptable alternatives.
Eliminate sticky or chewy foods
There are plenty of sticky or chewy foods to look out for! Raisins, dates, or dense dinner rolls can easily damage braces as well. Swap out dried fruit for fresh fruit. And, instead of chewy rolls, choose soft biscuits or bread instead.
Get rid of nuts
Nuts may pack a protein punch, but they also are very hard. Even without braces, nuts can lead to chipped teeth. With braces, they can cause brackets to break. For protein, snack on a soft egg instead. If you use nuts as a topping for ice cream or other treats, swap them for something healthy and soft like berries or opt for decadent chocolate sauce or whipped cream.
Don’t chew on your ice
This bad habit is detrimental to teeth and braces. Skip this teeth-chipping and bracket-breaking practice. Instead, choose a frozen yogurt if you want to enjoy something cool that won’t harm braces.
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