My Food Experience with Braces

January 13, 2012

My experience with braces has been so far, so good. But, the hardest thing to deal with so far? FOOD! I wish I’d known how hard it would be to eat normally with braces. I would have gone out for a huge, chewy sub sandwich before I got them on.

Dr. Harrington’s assistant told me that I can eat almost anything I normally would, as long as I am careful. The problem is that in the beginning my teeth were still pretty sore when I ate and it’s hard to bite off chunks of even soft foods. I figured out how to get around this issue by mostly eating things that require little chewing (like oatmeal or yogurt) or by cutting or tearing my food into small pieces that I can chew with my back teeth.

I’ve started to develop lists of foods that are easy to eat and those that aren’t as manageable.

Go Ahead, Bite In:

  • Cream Of Wheat. It’s a good alternative to oatmeal because it’s warm and soft but the grains are so tiny they don’t get caught in brackets as easily.
  • Steak. Who’d have guessed? It turns out it’s easy to gracefully cut steak into very small pieces and chew with your back teeth only.  This is now my go-to meal when we eat out at a restaurant because I know I can manage it publicly. And who doesn’t love an excuse to eat lots of steak?

Only In The Privacy Of Your Home:

  • Risotto. The second night I had braces, my husband and I went to a Latin American restaurant. I ordered the risotto, thinking the creamy, soft texture would be perfect for my sore mouth. Well, it was easy to eat…but unfortunately, all those squishy grains got caught in my brackets. I had to make an emergency trip to the bathroom with my travel toothbrush, a.k.a my new best friend. Luckily I was the only one in there, because brushing all that risotto out took ten minutes!
  • Pasta. Don’t be fooled by the soft texture of noodles—it’s not that easy to bite off hunks when your front teeth are shifting, and you’ll end up with a bunch of spaghetti noodles awkwardly hanging out of your mouth.

Forget It:

  • Bagels. Even if you pull off itty-bitty pieces, a good bagel is so chewy it defies sore teeth. It’s just an exercise in frustration. Try a croissant instead.
  • Taffy, chewy caramel, any kind of brittle. I know how hard it can be to pass up these goodies. But it’s not worth it. Trust me on this one.

I’m also always looking for ways to work fruit and vegetables into my diet:

Omelets or scrambles. Eggs are nice and soft and it’s easy to jazz them up (and give them a nutritious boost) by tossing in a handful of chopped spinach or artichokes.

Fruit pancakes and quick breads. Baking finely diced apples or pears makes them nice and soft.

Roasts and chili. You can make either of these in a crock pot and the long, slow cooking will make everything soft and easy to chew. You can hide all kinds of veggies in chili, too, like corn, carrots or spinach.

If you have braces, I’d love to hear about your favorite foods…and the ones you miss the most!

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