braces friendly foods

Fall Food!!

September 4th, 2018

With Labor Day ever so slightly in the rear view mirror, it's time to start thinking about fall, right?  Pumpkin Spice and soups and stews?  Ok, maybe it's still a little bit warm, but we can plan ahead!

Fortunately lots of delicious fall foods go great with braces.  Soups and stews are some of our favorites to recommend for those first few days after braces have been adjusted.  And can you ever really have too much soup when the weather turns cool??

Here's a link to one of our favorites, Ina Garten's 16 Bean Pasta e Fagioli!

Sports Drinks and Braces

May 28th, 2018

Today I thought we could chat about one of the common challenges for patients with braces and clear aligners - sports drinks!
Many of our patients are in middle and high school. Not surprisingly, at this age, they’re often becoming increasingly competitive in their favorite sports and taking their competition more seriously. This usually means more time spent training, and often, the use of sports drinks for hydration.
Sports drinks serve an important purpose. They replenish electrolytes and provide energy for continued exercise. However, due to their sugar content, they present some risks to be aware of. Many children and teens think of sports drinks as “healthy” because they go hand-in-hand with sporting events, but as far as your teeth and your blood sugar are concerned, they essentially behave no differently than soda!
Our advice when using sports drinks can be summed up in three key points:
1. Use them only during sports. It isn’t necessary to drink sports drinks throughout the day. They’re meant to get sugar and electrolytes into your bloodstream quickly for use during activity. When used at other times of day, they provide empty calories and no advantages compared to fueling and hydrating with healthy foods and water.
2. Perform good dental hygiene after using sports drinks just like you would with any other sugary foods. After use, it can be helpful to swish with water if brushing isn’t an immediate option. And, of course, never head to bed without brushing thoroughly!! (Even if you’re exhausted from the big game!)
3. Never use sports drinks while wearing clear aligners. The fluid can get trapped against your teeth under the aligner and result in prolonged exposure of your teeth to the sugar. The worst part is that your saliva can’t reach the teeth to rinse them off, and the result is much worse than simply sipping the beverage with an empty mouth.
If you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to use sports drinks AND enjoy a healthy smile!!

Guidelines for Eating with Braces

April 16th, 2018

Guidelines for Eating with Braces

When it comes to taking good care of your braces, one of the key factors is making great choices when choosing foods to eat!  There are a few factors to consider when you're choosing braces-friendly foods.  We don't "forbid" very many foods as they did in the past, but we recommend using common sense, a gentle bite, and great hygiene in order to continue to enjoy most of the foods you love.  In many cases, simple substitutions can make a poor choice into a good one!   Here are the primary factors to consider when selecting foods to eat with braces.

  1. Comfort!  When you first have your braces placed or adjusted and for the day or two following these visits, your teeth will be a little bit more tender than usual.  We suggest choosing foods that are easy to chew but that require you to use your teeth nonetheless.  Using your teeth for gentle chewing helps to increase the blood flow around the root of the tooth and will speed up the process of alleviating that soreness!  In other words, instead of limiting yourself to nothing but smoothies and ice cream for three days (which does sound delicious), you should also choose some foods like bananas, steamed veggies, or omelets.
  2. Gentleness!  What we mean by this is that the foods you choose should be gentle on your braces.  We often remind patients that the braces are meant to come off some day, and eating hard, crunchy foods that require you to apply a lot of force to your teeth can loosen the braces early.  Examples of foods that could easily cause braces to come loose would include things like chewy/stale pizza crust or bagels that require tearing with your teeth, whole raw nuts like almonds, and raw vegetables like carrots.  As we mentioned, however, this doesn't mean that your favorite foods are off limits, but rather that you must change how you eat them.  Try tearing off tiny pieces of that bagel and chewing it gently on your back teeth.  Instead of whole raw almonds, try slivered almonds.  And instead of raw carrots, try shredded or steamed carrots.  Easy!
  3. Hygiene!  Whether you're wearing braces or not, it pays to avoid eating too many sugary foods - especially if those foods are sticky and tend to get stuck in the nooks and crannies around braces.  Things like chewy candies can linger around your braces and be very difficult to clean off.  These can lead to white spot lesions or even cavities.  In addition, it's a good idea to limit sugary beverages like Gatorade and soda.  This is especially true if you tend to sip your beverages over the course of several hours.  Generally, if you are going to have a sugary drink, it's wise to drink it with a meal, limit the duration of exposure, and rinse with water immediately after.  Then brush at your next opportunity in order to remove traces of the sugar.

If you follow these simple instructions, you should have great success with the comfort, function, and cleanliness of your braces without making any major changes to your lifestyle or missing out on your favorite foods!  As always, please visit our website for more information.  You can find us at  Happy eating, friends!

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