Braces! How to Keep a Healthy Smile Through the Wires


Healthy Snacks for People with Braces
Just try brushing away a popcorn hull stuck between two brackets!
Just try brushing away a popcorn hull stuck between two brackets!
© iStockphoto.com/the4js

When you're wearing braces, your eating habits may need to change. You're no longer chewing only with those hard, permanent teeth. Those hard, permanent teeth are now sporting softer, malleable, removable brackets and wires.

Braces are bonded to the teeth, but they're bonded loosely enough to be removed without hurting your teeth when your treatment is complete. In order to prevent any damage to the braces, such as bending or breaking a wire or popping off a bracket, you'll need to:

  • Avoid hard, crunchy foods, such as pretzels, nuts or crusty bread.
  • Avoid sticky or chewy foods, such as taffy, jerky or dried fruit.
  • Avoid foods that could easily get lodged in your braces, like popcorn (the hulls) or poppy seed muffins.
  • Never (never!) chew ice, gum or pencils.
  • Cut hard-but-healthy foods, such as apples or carrots, into small pieces.

Cheese, hummus and pita, bananas, melon and yogurt are all perfectly healthy snacks for people with braces. Basically, any foods that are soft, crisp but not crunchy, and just generally easy to chew are fair game. It's a good idea, however, to stay away from sugary foods and drinks, since your teeth are especially susceptible to cavities and decay while your braces are on.

Is it a bit of a pain? Yes. Proper oral hygiene and habits for teeth with braces are more involved than for bare teeth, and you'll be putting in both time and energy for the duration of your treatment. If you start to lose your patience with the dos, don'ts and nevers, remind yourself that in a year or so, those braces will be coming off -- what a shame it would be to find your perfectly straight teeth are brown and decayed.

For more information on orthodontics, oral hygiene and related topics, look over the links on the next page.