If you’re beginning orthodontic treatment, you’re probably already aware that braces come with food restrictions. Many people choose clear aligners over braces for this reason, but did you know that both types of appliances require special care? Whether you’re sporting colorful metal brackets or invisible plastic trays, these four dietary tips can help keep your pearly whites in top shape while you’re straightening your smile with braces or Invisalign.

Stock Up on Soup

Your teeth will be very sensitive for a few days following an adjustment of your braces or switching to a new aligner tray, so make sure you have plenty of soup and other soft foods like smoothies, pudding, eggs and mashed potatoes. It’s especially important for growing children and teens to get enough calories and nutrients while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Protein shakes can help fill the gap if you find it difficult to eat.

Say Goodbye to Gummies

One soft snack that you shouldn’t have in your pantry, however, is gummies. Fruit snacks, gummy bears and even gummy vitamins contain a perfect storm of sugar and stickiness. It can rot your teeth whether you have metal braces or Invisalign. These sticky sweets are difficult to remove from brackets and get trapped beneath trays. They also promote bacterial growth that causes cavities.

Find a New Movie Snack

What’s a movie without popcorn? You will have to find out when you get braces put on because popcorn hulls can get wedged into your braces and hard kernels can break brackets. Try other salty snacks like potato chips, puffed corn or sliced vegetables to accompany your flick. You can also grab a meal at a restaurant before you hit the movies instead.

Ditch Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks and juice are bad for your teeth any time, but they’re especially risky during orthodontic treatment. The sugar collects around your brackets or gets stuck beneath your trays where it can lead to tooth decay. Trade those sugary drinks for water, milk, black coffee or sugar-free options. Never drink anything but plain water with your clear trays on because colored drinks can stain them.

Are you missing your old favorite foods already? Keep in mind that you won’t be in braces forever. Braces are only worn for one to three years on average, and the duration of orthodontic treatment plans grows shorter all the time thanks to new advances. Finding braces and Invisalign friendly alternatives that you enjoy can make adjusting to your new diet easier.

About the author

Lizzie Weakley

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