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Nutrition and Oral Hygiene: 9 Foods That Can Help and Hinder Your Journey to Straight Teeth

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?

At Varble Orthodontics, we believe that a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining good oral health. But, we also know that having braces can make it challenging to enjoy some of your favorite foods. In this blog, we’ll review the foods patients can and cannot eat during treatment.  

A woman smiles, showcasing her braces, while holding a lime and tomato up to her face.

Foods to Avoid

We understand that having braces can sometimes feel like a temporary diet modification, but it's essential to avoid certain foods to prevent any unwanted mishaps or damage to your braces. Here are some foods to steer clear of while on your orthodontic journey:

1.  Sticky and Chewy Treats: 

As tempting as they may be, it's best to avoid sticky candies, taffy, caramels, and gum. These sticky treats can get lodged in your braces, making them difficult to clean and potentially leading to damage or even tooth decay.

2.  Hard and Crunchy Foods: 

While they may be delicious, hard and crunchy foods like popcorn, nuts, hard candies, and ice can pose a risk to your braces. These treats can cause brackets or wires to break, leading to additional orthodontic visits and prolonging your treatment time.

3.  Tough and Chewy Meats: 

Tearing into a tough steak or biting into chewy jerky might not be a good idea while wearing braces. Instead, opt for tender cuts of meat that are easier to chew, or consider alternative protein sources like fish or ground meats.

4.  Chewy Bread and Bagels: 

Although freshly baked bread and bagels can be hard to resist, their chewy texture can get stuck in your braces. To enjoy your favorite carb-loaded treats, try cutting them into small, bite-sized pieces or lightly toasting them for a softer texture.

5.  Carbonated Drinks: 

While not a food, it's worth mentioning that carbonated drinks like soda and sparkling water should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether. The carbonation can weaken enamel and lead to tooth decay, and the high sugar content in regular soda increases the risk even further.

Remember, these guidelines are temporary and serve to protect both your braces and your oral health. Once your treatment is complete and those beautiful, straight teeth are unveiled, you'll be able to indulge in all your favorite foods once again. 

The Good Stuff - Foods that Benefit Your Oral Health

For every food we ask you to avoid, there are so many that you can still snack on! These foods are not only great for your overall health but can also be enjoyed with braces.

1. Fruits and Veggies

Apples, pears, bananas, grapes, and melons, as well as steamed carrots and broccoli, and cucumbers are all soft and easy to chew. They are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your teeth, gums, and overall health. Do be careful though, tougher fruits and veggies like carrots and whole apples can be tough on your brackets. Consider steaming your favorite veggies and cutting harder fruits into slices. 

2. Lean Proteins

Proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish are also excellent choices for those with braces. These protein sources are soft and easy to chew, making them ideal for those with sensitive teeth and gums. They are also rich in nutrients like vitamin B12 and iron, which are essential for maintaining good oral and overall health.

3. Dairy Products

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are another excellent source of nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, which are important for maintaining strong teeth and bones. Just be sure to choose low-sugar options to avoid potential damage to your teeth.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice are high in fiber, which promotes good digestion and helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. Plus, they are low in sugar, which is great for avoiding cavities and other dental issues. They are low in sugar, which is great for avoiding cavities and other dental issues.

Remember, a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining good oral and overall health. And with some small modifications, you can still enjoy healthy and delicious foods while wearing braces. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're always here to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!


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