Braces and other modern orthodontic treatments are more efficient and effective than ever before. They even look better than they used to, too.
However, no matter how much they have improved, it’s reasonable to have a little discomfort when you first get braces or after you have an adjustment. During these times, we advise taking on a soft diet.
Unlike other dental treatments, orthodontic treatment does not require you to stay on a soft diet for a long time. Often, 24-48 hours is about all most of our patients need. The idea is to give your mouth a bit of a rest while we slowly move the teeth into position.
So, What Do We Mean by Soft Diet?
A soft diet is foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Some people think of it as “any food you can cut with your fork.” Others might say a soft diet is using a blender to make any food “soft.” All of these definitions are correct, except that we might change the last soft diet to be called a “mechanical soft diet,” because a machine makes the food appropriate for the menu; the food itself is not hard.
Does that mean we expect you to drink all your meals through a straw? No, unless you like that sort of thing. Smoothies and milkshakes are definitely on the list. Soups are also. In all these cases, the straw is optional.
Mostly, when we suggest you try a soft diet for a couple of days, we are steering you towards foods that will not dislodge your new brackets and will not increase your discomfort during the transition. Furthermore, we hope that your diet will include a variety of foods from all the food groups:
- Carbohydrates: hot cereal, mashed potatoes, boiled pasta (preferably whole wheat, if possible)
- Protein: soups and stews with shredded meats, fish, hummus, canned tuna or salmon, eggs, baked beans, etc.
- Dairy: Yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese, string cheese, and don’t forget the milkshakes
- Fruits and Vegetables: mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash, bananas, berries, smoothies, avocados, tomatoes, and fruit cocktail
Since you aren’t going to be eating a soft diet for very long, you don’t have to worry too much about your nutritional needs. However, it is essential to remember that a balanced diet will not only nourish your body, but it will help you cope better with any discomfort you feel.
Once your discomfort abates, you can add back in a few items that need a bit more chewing to eat. However, we do recommend that you continue to avoid chewy or sticky foods.
Some examples of foods to avoid include:
- Hard fruit, like apples or pears
- Hard raw vegetables like carrots or celery
- Crusty bread or bagels
- Unground whole grains
- Whole nuts
- Hard Candy
- Caramels or taffy
- Bubble gum
It seems like bad advice to steer you away from fruits and vegetables. However, the reason we do is that they can pop a bracket off of your teeth when you bite into them. Ditto for whole grains, but they can lodge themselves in your braces or between your teeth.
That said, if this is particularly bad news to you and some of these foods are hard for you to imagine living without during treatment, you can try mincing the harder foods into much smaller pieces. Per Verywellhealth.com, you can cut vegetables into smaller pieces so that you can chew them with your back teeth instead, or cook them to soften them up a bit. Or for nuts and hard candy, you can use a meat tenderizer to break them down into more manageable pieces.
And Another Thing About the Candy…
Okay, we know you are going to eat some candy during orthodontic treatment. (And let’s not forget all the added sugar in many other foods we eat.) However, we want you to keep it to a minimum. Your teeth can still decay with braces, and are, in many cases, more susceptible to decay. Sugar is not your teeth’s friend, and you should avoid it all the time, but especially when you have braces.
Whenever and whatever you eat, or, at the very least, swish out your mouth with water after eating. Proxabrushes can also be useful to have around after eating to clear out your braces.
The most important thing about a soft diet during braces is to remember that it will not last forever. Once your teeth have adjusted, you can eat the foods you usually eat again. And once they are off, you can eat whatever you want, showing off your beautiful, healthy smile while you do.
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Lewin, RNutr, Jo. “What are the soft food and mechanical soft food diets?” www.medicalnewstoday.com. 26 March 2018. Web. 13 August 2019. < https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321331.php>.
Watson, Shawn. “What You Can and Can’t Eat With Braces.” www.verywellhealth.com. Web. 12 July 2019. Web. 13 August 2019. < https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-you-can-and-cant-eat-with-braces-1059351>.