You may have to make a few lifestyle changes while wearing braces when it comes to the foods you eat and even how you eat them. You probably won’t be able to eat some foods at all for the duration of having the braces on, but for the most part, your eating habits will return to normal after the first little while.

The best way to limit the impact braces will have on your day to day life is to choose the most appropriate type of braces for your lifestyle. If you have opted for metal or ceramics, getting good quality braces is a must as you will be wearing them for the next twelve to eighteen months. Orthodontics are different from removable types of dental work such as bridges and partials and will have different requirements for what to eat and avoid.

Below are some helpful guidelines on the best options for how to handle eating with your new braces.

For the First Day

You will be able to eat pretty much immediately after getting your braces put on though you may not initially feel like eating while you adjust to the feel of them. It is perfectly normal to experience some sensitivity in your teeth, but this should fade within the first few days. Your front teeth, in particular, will be very sensitive to pressure, so you may want to avoid biting into anything that first day. Even afterward, once that sensitive feeling has gone away, it is still preferable not to bite into certain foods with your front teeth while wearing braces.

Stick to soft foods in general. Your mouth will be a little tender and sore initially, so cold foods like ice cream or puddings will help to alleviate some of that pain. Any food that does not require much chewing is ideal. Soups and plates of pasta will be your best bets for the first day.

For the First Week

After the first day, you should begin to notice some improvement in your teeth’ sensitivity, but you may develop sore spots on the inside of your cheeks, tongue, and lips. This comes from the braces rubbing into the soft inner skin of your mouth. If you notice that your braces are rubbing quite a lot in certain areas, try covering them in wax that your orthodontist should provide to you.

You will probably still want to stay with softer foods for these first few days, but you can certainly move beyond soups. Try to avoid anything that is tough to chew or requires you to bite off a piece of it, such as pizza or bread, unless you cut it up into bite-size pieces first. Tender meats, seafood, and other dishes can all be enjoyed, though spicy food may aggravate those sore places.

For the Remainder

Once the first week has passed, your mouth and teeth should no longer feel quite so sensitive. At this point, you can start eating most any kind of foods though a few rules will need to stay for the duration.

First, you should still avoid biting into foods with your front teeth. This is particularly important for meat or tougher bread like bagels. It is better to cut all of your food into small pieces and then to chew with the teeth along the side of your mouth, especially your back teeth. The farther back your teeth are, the more surface area they have to chew with, and this keeps undue pressure from being placed on the braces themselves.

Second, you will probably need to cut out crunchy foods like nuts and chips. Salads may have croutons that are difficult to bite into even with your back teeth, so keep an eye out for them. Popcorn is definitely out as the kernels are likely to get caught up in between your teeth, between the braces’ wires, and are extremely difficult to get out.

Third, you must maintain your daily regimen of brushing twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash. With the braces in place, food particles can get into very unusual places, and the last thing you want while wearing braces is to develop cavities or other gum diseases. There are floss threaders made especially for people with braces that can help remove stubborn food even through the wires.

Overall Care of Your Braces

If you continue to have sensitivity problems, be sure to bring it up to your orthodontist when you go in for a follow-up. They can provide wax to cover the braces and should be able to recommend topical anesthetics that can lessen the pain from the sore spots that developed when your mouth was adjusting initially. Always keep in mind that while braces will be noticeable in your mouth, they should not be causing discomfort or pain, and if they are, then you will definitely want to inform your orthodontist.

While wearing braces, it is important to avoid grinding your teeth, biting into foods with your front teeth, and eating foods that may damage the wires or bands. Any of these activities can result in needing to get your braces repaired or adjusted. Grinding, in particular, can cause your jaw to ache and affect your bite pattern, which is what the braces are in the process of correcting.

If you do damage your braces, see your orthodontist as soon as possible. Damaged wires can cause the alignment process to be delayed or worsen the underlying issue that is being corrected. Remember, the braces are attached to your teeth with cement, so it is extremely important not to bite into hard foods that may cause the cement to chip as that can damage the tooth’s enamel, which will then lead to even more dental work.

Maintaining your braces along with good brushing and flossing habits, can make wearing your braces more comfortable. While you may have to give up some foods, you should still be able to eat most of your favorites. As you become more accustomed to them, you will develop a good sense of what foods are a good idea and which are not.