Eat Smarter for Your Oral Health

To make the most of your orthodontic treatment and get the end result you want in both appearance and function, be sure to eat healthy foods during treatment. 

Breakfast Foods for Braces:

In the United States, cereals and pastries are the most popular choices for breakfast but are not the healthiest for our teeth. These unhealthy choices are often loaded with sugar and can have damaging effects on your teeth, gums, and fixed appliances as well. Failure to brush and floss after eating breakfast could lead to even greater problems in the near future. 

Eating a balanced breakfast can help prevent problems like bad breath, tooth decay, early tooth loss, and gum disease. Healthy breakfast foods for braces and tooth health include: 

  • Cereal, yogurt, and a sliced apple
  • Scrambled eggs, toast, and orange juice
  • Veggie omelet, bran muffin, and fruit with yogurt
  • Whole-grain pancakes or waffles topped with berries and/or yogurt and milk
  • Low-fat cheese melted on toast with a piece of fruit

Beware of Smoothies and Juices

After getting your braces tightened, you’ll likely want to reach for something such as a smoothie or juice instead of a solid breakfast. While smoothies are chock full of vitamins for healthy bones and teeth, they also contain a high volume of acids. Over time, these acids can cause staining and erosion damage to your teeth. Many people notice that their teeth feel sticky or rough after juicing for more than a couple of days. To Enjoy Your Favorite Smoothie or Juice:

  • Always Drink Through A Straw: use the straw to keep most of the liquid from coming into contact with your teeth. 
  • Wash it Down With Water: The longer acid has to sit on your teeth, the greater your chances of stains and erosion. To combat this, have a glass of water after your juice or smoothie.
  • Toothpaste: The acid from juices and smoothies wears down the enamel on your teeth leaving them more sensitive than usual. Whitening toothpaste typically contains harsh chemicals that also increase sensitivity, instead opt for a toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. 

Vitamins for Healthy Bones and Teeth:

Even though what you can eat with braces is limited, it’s still important to ensure you’re consuming enough vitamins and minerals for a healthy body and mouth. 

Calcium

Typically found in milk, cheese, yogurt, and other foods, calcium keeps bones, like your jaw, strong and builds strong teeth to protect them from decaying and to protect your gums from disease.

Magnesium

What do leafy greens, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark chocolate have in common? They all contain magnesium. Magnesium aids in the formation of your jaw, teeth, and gum tissue.

Iron

When the body has good levels of iron, it is able to better prevent mouth sores and inflammation. Foods like bran cereals, red meat, spices, and some nuts are also great sources of magnesium.

Vitamin A

Is your mouth producing enough saliva? You may need to add more vitamin A to your diet. Vitamin A is responsible for helping the body maintain healthy tissues and mucous membranes in the mouth. Eating foods like spinach, melon, sweet potatoes and more could help you produce the saliva your body needs.

Vitamin C

Wounds and cold sores that occur inside of the mouth can sometimes be difficult to treat. Feeding your body an adequate amount of Vitamin C helps prevent inflammation and bleeding within your mouth. To make sure your body is getting enough vitamin C, add foods like sweet potatoes, red peppers, and oranges to your eating habits.

Vitamin D

While it is great to feed your body calcium, vitamin D helps the body absorb it and strengthens your bone mineral density. The best way to get vitamin D is to step outside in the sun. If the sun is out of your reach, try eating foods like fish, milk, and egg yolks.

Potassium

Similar to vitamin D, potassium also helps with bone density. It also partners with magnesium to stop your blood from becoming too acidic. Too much acid in your blood can reduce the body’s ability to maintain calcium levels. Did you know bananas are the most popular potassium-rich foods? It can also be found in lima beans, avocados, prunes, and tomatoes.

What To Avoid

Sugary Drinks

Sugar sticks to our teeth, becoming a feeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria eat the sugar left on our teeth and deposit acid directly onto the enamel, causing erosion and even gum disease if left for long periods of time. 

In children, their enamel is still developing so it cannot defend against erosion. People with braces and a love for soda may have brackets for barriers but often leave with stained teeth once the braces are taken off.

Late Night Snacking

A 2010 study in Denmark discovered a relationship between midnight snacking and tooth loss. Over a six-year period, a group of over 2,000 adults (8% labeled “nocturnal eaters”) was found to have significantly increased their chances of tooth loss from repeated midnight snacking.

Nocturnal eaters were classified as those who eat a quarter or more of their daily calories after dinner several times per week. This also includes those who wake up in the middle of the night to eat a snack. The body produces less saliva at night – meaning those who eat late won’t have enough saliva to remove food debris that is left on the teeth. Braces make the problem worse as food can easily get stuck between brackets and wires.

Come See Us!

At Northeast Orthodontic Specialists, we want to make sure you get the most out of your orthodontic treatment. If you have questions about how your eating habits are affecting your progress, contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll examine your current progress and provide suggestions to help you curb your cravings or make smarter, braces-friendly choices when they do come up. Our goal is to help maintain your healthy, beautiful smile!

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