While getting braces put on in itself is a painless process, the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue may become sore in the following days (and for up to a week or two) while they adjust to your new hardware. You may also experience some mild discomfort for a few days after your adjustment appointments.
Eating can be a bit of a challenge during these times; you may not only have to modify what types of foods you eat, but how you prepare and actually eat them. Being armed with knowing what to eat and making sure your kitchen is stocked with those foods is the best way to minimize discomfort (and hunger) during these phases of your orthodontic treatment.
In order to help you prepare for these transition periods, we’ve compiled a list of the top foods to eat when you first get braces…or any time your teeth and mouth are sore. For a printer friendly version of the list, click here.
Top Foods for New Braces
Fruits and Veggies
- Canned Fruits in Juice
- Mashed Avocado/Mild Guacamole
- Soft Cooked Veggies like Carrots, Broccoli and Baked Squash (can also mash or puree)
- Mashed Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
- Cottage Cheese
- Soft Cheeses
- Ice Cream and Shakes
Meat and Alternatives
- Soft Cooked Fish Without Bones
- Soft Cooked Chicken Without Bones
- Finely Ground Beef/Meatloaf/Meatballs or Vegetarian Crumbles
- Oatmeal/Cooked Cereals
- Soft Bread, Biscuits or Muffins
- Soft Cooked Rice
- Soft Cooked Beans like Refried or Baked Beans
- Peas (can be mashed or pureed)
Tips for Eating with Braces
In addition to choosing softer foods like the ones on the list above, following these tips will make eating with braces much easier:
- + Use a straw when drinking liquids.
- + Use a straw on the side of the mouth instead of the front.
- + Don’t bite off food with your front teeth.
- + Cut food into small pieces and chew on the side of the mouth.
- + Use a smaller utensil like a baby spoon to keep bite sizes manageable.
- + Cook foods until soft and tender.
- + Puree food with a blender or food processor.
- + Add gravy, sauce or butter to food to make it easier to swallow.
If you’re experiencing irritated gums or a sore mouth, you may want to try eating food cold or at room temperature. You may also want to avoid acidic foods that could cause further irritation, such as citrus fruits and juices and tomato juice or sauce. Salty or spicy foods should also be avoided.
Before we go, we’d just like to remind you to avoid hard, crunchy and sticky foods the whole time you’re wearing braces and whether your teeth and mouth hurt or not, as they can cause damage to your appliance and potentially extend treatment time—and no one wants that!
But aside from those few exceptions and during the brief periods when your mouth and/or teeth are tender, you’ll still be able to enjoy most of your favorite foods while undergoing orthodontic treatment; and you can be sure that the reward of having a healthy, beautiful smile will be worth any minor sacrifices that you do have to make!