Almost exactly two years ago, I got braces. Why? I felt like my teeth were moving that that my snaggle-tooth was getting more snaggly. I had a chance to get braces when I was 16, but my vain 16 year old self was very concerned about her senior pictures. Also, 16 year old self had no idea about the wonders of photo shop.
So, I decided to take the plunge (before my children need braces.)
Having not had braces before, I had no idea what I was in for, so I wanted to write a little guide for adults who are looking to get braces for the first time or for parents whose children are getting braces, because let me tell you – jell-o gets old really fast.
First let’s talk pain. The first two days of getting braces on are the worst. Basically it feels like you have something jammed between you teeth (corn on the cob comes to mind). It’s irritating. It’s annoying. And it won’t stop!
On these days, over the counter pain relievers are your friend. So is soup. Other than the annoying “food stuck in my teeth” pain, I find that these first few days mess with my head. Here’s why. Though annoying, “food in the teeth pain” isn’t severe, so I feel like I can muscle through it and eat food that requires chewing. No. Just no. Once you try to bite down on something, anything, on those teeth, the severe pain rears its ugly head. The first few days (and really the whole first week) are the days the following meal ideas are going to be best.
One other thing you many not think of: once there are braces on your teeth you have to relearn to talk and eat. When I first tried to eat with new braces I think I looked like a dog with peanut butter in its mouth. Overly large bites, tongue hanging out, you get the picture. It’s not pretty. This is not the time to attempt any sort of fine dining situation. Soft, hearty foods reign supreme!
One last note before I get to that list of soft-food meals. There are lots of lists across the internet about foods to avoid when you have braces. Some are obvious, such as gum, caramel, and taffy. Clearly, these items are going to become entangled in braces and could do some damage.
Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots are also cautioned against. But in my opinion, if these are cut into very small, toddler sized bites and eaten carefully, go for it!
Then there are usually quite a few baked goods like bagels, pizza crust, and even Doritos or other hard chips. Again, these foods are probably safe as long as you don’t eat like a barbarian. If you stuff entire handfuls of chips or popcorn in you mouth, then 1) you’re a pig, and 2) yes you could do some damage. Same goes for those bagels and pizza. Shove the whole thing in your mouth, you’ll probably have some problems. A little sophistication and you’re probably going to be alright. Like those fruits and vegetables, when in doubt, cut these foods into small, toddler sized (¼ - ½ inch cubes) bites.
3. scrambled eggs
1. soup – let crackers get nice & mushy
2. baked potatoes with cheese & bbq sauce
3. baked sweet potatoes
4. Mac & cheese
5. pasta – use small noodles & smooth sauce
6. Grilled Cheese (cut in small bites with very soft bread!)
1. Veggies – slightly overcooked and a little mushy
2. baked beans
2. ice cream
3. frozen yogurt