Are there foods I can’t eat with braces? When you first get braces, it can feel like you have very limited options in terms of what you can eat. Dr. Demas, a leading orthodontist in Southington, will help you understand the limitations of braces and how you can best care for them by putting thought into the foods you or your child eats.
Congratulations you have completed orthodontic treatment. Your braces have positioned and straightened your child’s teeth to ensure they have a lifetime of healthy smiles. Now it is time for the next phase of treatment which will keep those beautiful teeth in position – wearing a retainer. We will go into more detail on the importance of wearing retainers below. Keep in mind that when braces are removed, your teeth would want to move back to their original positions. Wearing retainers after orthodontic treatment will prevent this from happening.
When you or your child get braces put on your teeth, your normal routine is altered slightly and you have to relearn how to do things that used to be simple everyday activities for you. Performing tasks such as eating any food you desire, talking without having metal braces in the way and especially brushing your teeth are instantly more challenging, but easy to overcome if you have a few tips in the bag.
There are many reasons why Invisalign has risen rapidly in popularity over the last 15 years. The technology of clear aligner treatment allows you to go about your day without worrying about your appearance: no more metal standing between the world and your smile! Invisalign has been popularized by celebrities like Zac Efron, Eva Longoria, and Tom Cruise; no wonder Invisalign is now one of the most popular orthodontic treatments in Southington.
Of course, the Invisalign system requires discipline, good habits, and some minor lifestyle changes. For best results, Invisalign requires that the user keeps the aligners in place between 20-22 hours per day. As such, that leaves between 2-4 hours each day for eating, drinking, and maintaining proper oral hygiene through brushing and flossing.
The most common concern I hear from potential Invisalign patients is this:
How can I maintain a healthy diet if I’m only allowed 2-4 hours per day to eat? Am I going to starve?!?
Here’s the good news: You can maintain a healthy diet while using Invisalign. When I encounter patients concerned about whether they will have to dramatically change their eating habits, I encourage them to keep a diet journal for at least a week. You’ll find that the actual time you spend eating, drinking, and cleaning your teeth adds up to around two hours. (Of course, this depends on your snacking habits. But won’t cutting down on lengthy snacking sessions improve your diet?)
Here is the schedule that I recommend for Invisalign patients:
- Morning brushing and flossing: 5 minutes
- Breakfast: 20 minutes
- Snack: 10 minutes
- Lunch: 30 minutes
- Snack: 10 minutes
- Dinner: 50 minutes
- Night brushing and flossing: 5 minutes
Add that all up and you’ll come to 130 minutes, or just over two hours. Keep in mind that those times don’t take into account meal preparation, but there’s no need to take out your aligners when you’re putting together your sandwich for lunch, is there? Every patient is different with varying dietary needs, but I recommend giving this schedule a time and seeing if you can comfortably finish your meals within this framework.
Keeping Your Teeth Clean with Invisalign
As always, it’s very important to maintain good oral hygiene when using Invisalign. In a perfect world, patients would brush and floss thoroughly each time after eating. I recognize that my patients often have busy schedules or don’t have access to running water at school or work. At the bare minimum, you should brush and floss thoroughly twice each day: once in the morning and once before bed. However, to keep up your oral hygiene throughout the day and prevent trapped food particles, I recommend rinsing with warm water or mouthwash after eating and before putting in your aligners.
Tried-and-True Patient Advice for a Healthy Invisalign Diet
This is a collection of advice from my patients who have used Invisalign and experienced the lifestyle changes demanded by clear aligner treatment. These four tips should be a great help to anyone considering Invisalign:
- Don’t Panic: You can do it! Keep in mind that many, before you, have gone through the Invisalign process and survived the dietary and lifestyle changes. There may be days where you have your aligners out for over 20 hours, and while it’s not ideal, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t beat yourself up about bad days, and stay positive. Rely on your friends and family for encouragement and you’ll see how easy it is after a few days to stick to your new diet requirements.
- Set a Schedule: Before Invisalign, many patients snacked throughout the day and ate less during meals. Unfortunately, this isn’t a possibility with Invisalign. We are creatures of habit, and it can be difficult to break our eating patterns when changing to a new diet. Many of my successful patients recommend sticking to a daily schedule for meals and snacks. After a few days, your body will get used to this schedule and start to expect breakfast at 8:30, lunch at noon, and a snack at 3:00. Settling into a routine will help reduce cravings and hunger pangs throughout the day.
- Plan Your Meals: Since you’ll be fitting a day’s worth of calories and nutritional needs into three meals and two snacks, you’ll need to strategize to cover your bases. Go into each day knowing when you’ll get your protein, where you’ll find your Vitamin C, and how many calories you’re taking in with each meal. Budgeting calories and nutrients are the best way to prevent hunger and malnourishment.
- Don’t Overcompensate: A typical reaction to the Invisalign 20-hour requirement is to shovel in as much food as possible during your allotted eating time. As tempting as it may be, this habit will only leave you feeling sick. Here is where your discipline comes into play: once you’ve planned out your daily meals and snacks, stick to the plan! If you’ve planned out your calories, you know that you’re eating enough throughout the day to feel full and healthy. Resist the temptation to overeat and your body will thank you!
Think You Can Handle It?
If you think you can master the “Invisalign Diet” and maintain healthy eating and cleaning habits while using clear aligners, contact us today. Team Demas Orthodontics is the top team for Southington Invisalign, and we recommend clear aligner treatment for its comfort, flexibility, and effectiveness. Contact us by phone or through our online location form; we’ll be happy to answer any patient question!
Team Demas Orthodontics
27 Meriden Ave #2a, Southington, CT 06489, USA
In a perfect world, everyone would have a perfect smile. Everyone would have perfect oral hygiene habits, so they wouldn’t have any cavities. Their teeth would already be straight, so there would be no need for orthodontic intervention. Unfortunately, this is not the current state of reality. Most people don’t have perfect smiles. Most people don’t have shiny, white teeth. Many people do end up needing some sort of orthodontic intervention.
Luckily, trained professionals are ready and willing to provide whatever services the public needs. Nevertheless, a lot of people are under the impression that their dental problems are so unique that they can’t receive care from an orthodontist. This is simply not true. One of the most common assumptions is that braces and fillings don’t mix. Take a look at questions people have and what the experts say.
LAST UPDATED: JUNE 28, 2017
Braces aren’t just for teenagers anymore since millions of teens and adults have braces on their teeth every single day. Braces and orthodontic work can help align your teeth and make your smile more appealing. The specific amount of time a person needs to wear braces is obviously going to differ from one individual to the next. Some people are able to wear braces for only six months while others are in them for two or even three years. Knowing why you’re wearing braces and why they may still be on will help you put the effort and energy into your orthodontic treatment to get the most out of it.
What are the Benefits of Braces?
Whether you’ve been fitted for traditional metal braces or are wearing Invisalign, having braces is a wonderful option for people who want to improve the look of their smile. Your smile is normally going to be the first thing a person notices about you, so it’s pretty obvious that you’ll want to put a bit of time and attention into your teeth if you feel they could use it.
LAST UPDATED: MAY 23, 2017
If you are wondering if traditional braces are cheaper than Invisalign, the answer is generally yes. Of course the actual cost of whatever option you choose will vary based on factors such as how long you will be wearing them, but traditional braces will generally run you less money than invisible aligners. The reason for this is that Invisalign is more high maintenance. With traditional braces, you will generally need to go in for adjustments about once every month. The orthodontist will adjust the wiring, which is fairly cheap itself, and that will be it. Because it is an older technology, it was designed so that keeping the braces fitted to your teeth entails a lot less work on the part of the orthodontist.
In contrast, with Invisalign, you will need to go in about once every two weeks to get a new mold for your teeth. These molds will have to be changed each time you go in (since the aligners that you are wearing are shifting your teeth and they will not be in the same positions that they were in even two weeks ago). Once the impressions from your teeth are acquired, they will be sent to a lab that will make the actual molds that you will be wearing. The constantly changing molds will make it so that your teeth are constantly shifting closer to the positions in which you want them, but it also means more work for your orthodontist, and more resources consumed for everyone involved. As such, it will naturally be more expensive than traditional braces.
You, or your parents, have spent years and a lot of money to get your teeth into perfect alignment and now you see that they are shifting back to their former position. The big question on your mind is most likely: Can retainers fix a slight shift of teeth after braces? The simple answer to this question is yes. But, more than giving you a simple answer, it’s important for you to understand how the slight shift occurred and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
MAINTAINING YOUR SMILE AFTER BRACES FAQ
Why do Teeth Shift after Braces?
It was the tension applied through your braces that forced your teeth to move into their straightened positions. When that pressure is removed, your gums and bone may try to return to their former misaligned conditions. To maintain the new structure of your teeth, you will need to use a retainer.
After your braces were removed, your orthodontist provided you with a retainer that you were to wear daily for a scheduled period of time. That schedule may have been for several hours every day as well as throughout the night. The retainer was meant to allow your gums and bone to adjust and support the new position of your teeth.
If you did not follow your orthodontist’s schedule or only wore your retainer sporadically, you provided your teeth with the opportunity to start shifting back to their previous condition. The shifting of your teeth does not happen fast, so it is possible that you will not notice the change until you see something in the mirror or you have problems when brushing and flossing.
Understanding How Self-Ligating Braces Work
Misaligned teeth have been impacting people’s smiles for a long time. Braces have been utilized for hundreds of years as a way to straighten the misaligned teeth of children, as well as adults. There have been developments in orthodontics concerning the design of braces. The goal has always been to make them more comfortable and easily accessible. With traditional braces, a person’s mouth has archwires, brackets, and bands in place to put pressure on the teeth. This is done so the teeth can be put in proper alignment. This method requires regular orthodontic visits so the bands and archwires can be adjusted as needed. This is how traditional braces are kept working correctly. Now, there is a new type of braces available. Self-ligating braces utilize clips and not rubber bands.
When you are done wearing braces, you expect to have perfectly straight teeth for a lifetime, but that isn’t always the case. There is the possibility of shifting teeth, especially if a retainer isn’t worn immediately after having the braces removed from your orthodontist. Below are some information about using a retainer and how they can help fix the shift in teeth following orthodontic treatment.
Why is a Retainer Worn after Braces?
If you have recently completed orthodontic treatment, you might have been advised to wear a retainer. This is a recommendation by many orthodontists as it helps to keep your teeth in their new position. With the braces off, there is a risk that the teeth will start shifting back to their original position. While it doesn’t happen with everyone, the best thing you can do is prevent it by wearing your retainer as often as your orthodontist recommended. They will inform you about exactly how long they need to be worn for in order to avoid orthodontic relapse.