Safe Food for Braces
When you get braces, it can mean a serious adjustment in many aspects of your life. This is especially true for your diet. Braces are notoriously finicky when it comes to the type of foods you can comfortably eat. You need to be mindful not to eat certain foods that may damage your braces or your teeth. Thankfully, choosing the right foods doesn’t have to be difficult, it requires a bit of research. Here are a few suggestions of safe foods that are approved by orthodontists and won’t take forever to clean out of your teeth.
Soft Fruits and Vegetables
When it comes to eating a balanced diet, most nutritionists will encourage you to have a good variety of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, there are some foods in that category that are not braces-friendly. Stick to softer fruits like peaches, kiwis, oranges, or grapes. Steer clear of hard-to-chew fruits like apples, or fruits that contain tiny seeds that could get stuck, like strawberries or raspberries.
When it comes to veggies, there are not that many that you may be able to eat comfortably without cooking. Steaming or sautéing vegetables should be able to soften them enough, so they do not pose an issue for your braces.
When you are trying to avoid tough pieces of meat that can be aggravating to your braces, it can be a struggle to get enough protein. Dairy is a great alternative to meat to provide you with the protein your body needs. An added benefit of dairy is that it is high in calcium, which promotes overall dental health.
Eggs and Soft Meats
Eggs and tender meat can be a good alternative to harder-to-chew meats like steak or lamb. Opt for scrambled or fried eggs, shredded chicken or pork. These options are a great source of protein while protecting your teeth. Foods higher in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, are a great choice to lower inflammation. Inflammation, particularly of the gums, can be a common side effect of braces. Eating fish a few times a week can help your smile, and tastes great!
Whole grains are a great healthy choice to get the complex carbohydrates you need to fuel your day. Soft bread is a great option for patients with braces. Search for whole bread that don’t have added sugar or sweeteners. Avoiding added sugar, in general, is advised when you have braces. The sugar can harm dental enamel in areas that you cannot brush effectively. Also, be careful not to eat bread that contains small hard seeds. These can get stuck in-between your teeth and braces, making cleaning a nightmare.
Pasta and Rice
Pasta and rice dishes are a great option for those with braces. Eating at restaurants can be a bit daunting when you have braces, but most restaurants always have pasta or rice-based dishes. Still, make sure the pasta or rice is fully-cooked and does not have a hard-center, like risotto, which can be rough on braces.
Making a Braces-Safe Dinner
We understand that it can be frustrating finding a recipe that is easy to make, and safe for your braces. We recommend searching on popular sites like Pinterest to get inspiration for healthy, teeth-friendly recipes. Several social media groups are an excellent resource for finding braces-friendly recipes. Therefore, we have included our favorite safe dinner recipe for patients that have braces.
Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- 1 12-oz box pasta (You can use bowties or rigatoni)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk or unsweetened milk alternative
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 10 oz chopped, frozen spinach, thawed, with as much excess water squeezed out as possible
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- Additional Parmesan for serving
Cook pasta according to package directions. Depending on what type of pasta you choose, cooking time will vary.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add roasted garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant. Add cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Add milk and stir quickly. Do not leave milk on high-heat, as it will curdle and burn. Add sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper. Reduce heat and stir in artichoke hearts, spinach, and parmesan cheese.
Drain pasta and add to artichoke mix. Toss and season to taste with salt and additional lemon juice as needed. Top with additional parmesan.
(recipe modified from A Life of Flavor blog)
As always, if you have specific questions about foods that are safe for braces, contact your orthodontist office. They should be able to provide you with resources and food lists so that you can make the best decisions for your dental health.