What you can and cannot eat while wearing your braces is going to depend a lot on what kind of braces you are wearing. Whether it’s traditional metal, ceramic, Invisalign, or lingual braces, orthodontist Dr. Riano will go over instructions about food and beverages with you before you leave the office. We believe that patient education is important, so we will make sure that all of your questions and the care and keeping of your braces are answered before you head home.

This article will provide you with a general reference guide about what you can and cannot eat when wearing certain types of braces. If you have questions about a certain food or need clarification on the instructions you received, you can give us a call and we’ll make sure we get back to you with answers as quickly as possible. Make sure that you check out this quick guide about what you can eat and drink first; you may find the answers that you need right here!

What You Can and Cannot Eat With Your Braces

With all braces, you should stick to soft food and lots of liquids for the first couple days. Your teeth and jaw may be sensitive from the new fixtures inside of your mouth, and sticking to soft foods is not only easier on your mouth but it gives you time to get used to the appliances. Jello, smoothies, pudding, and shakes are all good things to consume in the first couple days; cold foods might help alleviate the pain and swelling that you could be experiencing, too.

With Metal Braces

When you have metal braces, your main priority is to avoid any foods that are especially hard or especially sticky. Hard foods can dislodge your system of brackets and wires, while sticky foods are going to be nearly impossible to get out of the braces and could end up creating more dental issues down the line. Try to avoid foods such as:

  • Apples
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sticky candy
  • Gum
  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Jerky

If you aren’t sure whether or not a food is going to be too hard on your braces, the best thing to do is cut it up first. This allows you to chew the food with your teeth instead of biting and tearing it with your front teeth, which are most vulnerable when wearing braces. Additionally, you’ll want to put an end to nail biting or pencil chewing habits as they are just as bad for your teeth and braces as hard and sticky foods.

With Invisalign

One of the major advantages of wearing Invisalign adult and teen clear braces is that there are far fewer restrictions on what you can and cannot eat and drink. However, there are still some general guidelines that you should follow in order to protect both your teeth and your Invisalign braces.

  • Always take your Invisalign tray out when eating. If you don’t, you’ll risk breaking or distorting the tray and may have to pay for a replacement.
  • If you eat something and forget to take the tray out, make sure that you rinse your mouth and the tray as soon as possible. This will prevent any leftover food particles from feeding the bacteria in your mouth and causing issues like cavities and gingivitis.
  • Be careful with what you drink with your aligners in your mouth. You should be cautious with overly hot drinks as they could warp the tray, and some beverages like coffee and tea could temporarily discolor the clear material of the tray.

The best practice for caring for your Invisalign trays is to only consume water while they are in your mouth. However, remember that the most important factor for the success of the Invisalign process is getting enough hours in, so you’ll want to try to limit the amount of time they are out of your mouth during the day.

With Ceramic Braces

The main concern when it comes to ceramic braces is preventing staining. If you eat food or drink beverages that could stain your teeth, then they could stain your ceramic braces as well. That can lead to unsightly staining that could become permanent if you aren’t careful. Foods and drinks that commonly stain ceramic braces include:

  • Red wine
  • Curry
  • Tea
  • Coffe
  • Cola
  • Tomato sauce

If you do end up consuming one of the items on this list, the best thing to do is brush your teeth as soon as possible in order to prevent staining. There are a number of other things you can do to avoid staining your ceramic braces:

  • Use an electric toothbrush. Electric brushes are more effective than manual ones for removing stains.
  • Don’t use whitening toothpaste. If you do, the exposed surface of the tooth could be a different color than the tooth under the ceramic brackets when they come off.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Even if your meal doesn’t contain one of the foods or drinks listed above, it’s still best for your teeth and your braces to brush them after you’ve eaten.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can discolor your teeth as well as your ceramic braces, plus it’s just bad for your oral health.

Have more questions about what you can and cannot eat when wearing your braces? Get in touch with our office. You can give our team a call or make an appointment with our orthodontist in San Francisco online. We’ll make sure you have the information that you need to take good care of your teeth and braces!