March is the 50th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. With spring almost here, this is a great time to renew your focus on eating the foods your body and mouth need while protecting your braces hardware or clear aligners.
Tooth-Friendly Healthy Foods
This is a good time to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need for healthy teeth and gums. You want foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and A, that protect vital tooth enamel.
Even though it’s the hardest substance in your body, tooth enamel can still be damaged by harmful acids and bacteria in the mouth. While you can’t eat crunchy fruits, nuts, or leafy greens with braces (the latter is hard to remove from braces), you can take a vitamin supplement as recommended by your doctor and consume these tooth-friendly foods recommended by the American Dental Association:
- Plain yogurt
Please limit or avoid processed sugar like candies, chocolates, sodas, juices and sports drinks. Since high-carbohydrate foods break down into simple sugars, they are just as harmful to your teeth and gums. Instead, focus on sticking to the following choices:
Best Fruits and Vegetables While Wearing Braces
- Ripe peaches
- Ripe pears
- Applesauce (avoid whole or apple pieces)
Cooking your vegetables is the easiest way to get the nutrients provided by this food group. Anything you can bake, boil or steam helps lock in their nutrients while making them soft and easy to eat, such as:
- Sweet Potatoes
Eating the wrong foods can loosen or break braces, wires, or bands. This means staying away from sticky or crunchy foods. Be sure to maintain proper dental care while wearing braces by brushing at least three times a day and, ideally, after each meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean around the braces to clear out all stray bits of food. Follow up by flossing well between your teeth so food particles can’t linger in the braces and wires.
Tip: Chew your food with the stronger molars in the back instead of your front teeth while protecting braces hardware.
Healthy Foods and Tips While Undergoing Clear Aligner Therapy
Dairy products are loaded with calcium and protein, both of which support tooth health. Dairy increases your mouth’s pH level, which fights off oral bacteria that cause cavities. Fruits (melons, berries, plums) and veggies (cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini ) that are high in water to keep your mouth well hydrated.
- After wearing your clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours, you should clean your aligner tray when you take them out to eat so they will be sanitized and ready to put back in. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, antibacterial soap, and warm water, which is gentle on the trays to avoid warping or damaging them.
- Always clean your teeth after you eat so the aligner tray will fit over your teeth properly and without bacterial buildup that could potentially lead to infection and damage.
- Set an alarm reminder to make sure you wear your aligner trays for the necessary time and replace them every two weeks as instructed.
- Remember to come in every four to six weeks so our orthodontist can track your teeth’s movements and provide additional trays if needed to finish your aligner therapy!
Our experienced orthodontic team is here to help you create the healthier, straighter teeth you deserve (and have always wanted)! Please give us a call today with your questions or concerns.