Navigating the world of dietary restrictions can be a daunting task when you first get braces. Many brace-wearers find themselves asking, “Can I still enjoy my favorite foods?” Especially when it comes to universally loved dishes like pizza, the question is all the more pressing. In this article, we’ll explore the ways in which braces impact your diet, understand why certain foods are off-limits, and most importantly, find out if you can still enjoy pizza while sporting braces.
Understanding Braces: Why Some Foods are Off-Limits
To fully comprehend the dietary limitations that come with braces, it helps to understand the structure of braces themselves. Braces, composed of brackets, wires, and bands, are not as robust as they might appear. Certain types of foods that are excessively hard, sticky, or chewy can either damage these delicate components or become stuck in them. This not only makes cleaning more challenging but can also lead to dental complications if not properly addressed.
How to Safely Eat Pizza with Braces
Eating pizza with braces is all about approach. Rather than biting into a large, hot slice straight out of the box, it is advisable to cut your pizza into manageable, bite-sized pieces. These smaller pieces are easier to handle, reducing the risk of dislodging a bracket or becoming lodged between the braces and teeth.
Best Types of Pizza for People with Braces
When it comes to the best types of pizza for people with braces, thin-crust pizza usually takes the prize. Thin-crust pizza tends to be less chewy, reducing the risk of getting food trapped in your braces or causing damage.
When it comes to toppings, softer is generally better. Here are a few braces-friendly options:
1. Cheese pizza
A classic choice, cheese pizza is soft and easy to eat.
Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil make for a delicious and braces-friendly combination.
3. Vegetable pizza
Just make sure the vegetables are cooked until they’re soft to avoid any issues.
Remember to steer clear of hard toppings like raw vegetables, crispy bacon, or solid pieces of sausage.
Foods to Avoid with Braces
Avoid hard foods, as they can damage the brackets and wires. This includes items like nuts, hard candies, ice cubes, and uncut hard fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots. Sticky or chewy foods should be avoided as they can get lodged in your braces. These include foods like caramel, taffy, gum, and certain sticky candies. Sugary foods and drinks can lead to plaque build-up around the braces and cause cavities. Be cautious with crunchy foods like popcorn and chips. These can become lodged in the braces and are hard to clean out. Lastly, try to avoid biting into large foods with your front teeth. Instead, cut foods like sandwiches, pizza, and fruits into smaller, manageable pieces.
Other Foods that Are Safe to Eat with Braces
While it may seem like there are many restrictions, there are still plenty of delicious and nutritious foods you can enjoy with braces. Bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and berries are all excellent choices. Steaming or boiling can soften vegetables making them easier to eat. Unlike crusty or chewy bread, soft bread is less likely to damage your braces. Foods like chicken, ham, tuna, or salmon are less challenging for a person with braces. Soft-cooked rice, pasta, and quinoa are all good choices.
Can You Eat Pizza Right After Getting Braces?
After getting braces, it’s common to experience some teeth and gum sensitivity. This sensitivity can make it difficult to enjoy certain foods, including pizza. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods right after getting braces.
You might want to wait a few days to a week before having pizza, allowing your mouth to adjust to the braces. When you do decide to have pizza, remember to cut it into small, bite-sized pieces to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your teeth and braces. As your mouth becomes more accustomed to the braces, you’ll be able to reintroduce more foods into your diet, pizza included
Tips For Eating Pizza With Braces
- Try to chew with your back teeth to prevent damage to your braces.
- Take your time and eat slowly to avoid biting down too hard and ensure you’re chewing with your back teeth.
- Opt for thin-crust pizza which is less chewy, reducing the risk of getting food trapped in your braces or causing damage.
- Choose softer toppings. Cheese pizza, Margherita, and vegetable pizza with well-cooked vegetables are all good choices.
- Be careful with the temperature. If the pizza is too hot, it could irritate your already sensitive mouth. Let it cool down before you start eating.
- It might be best to avoid the crust as it can be hard and tough on braces.
- Make sure to clean your teeth and braces thoroughly after eating pizza. If possible, rinse your mouth out with water immediately after eating to help remove larger food particles.
Braces-Friendly Pizza Recipe
If you’re craving pizza while wearing braces, you don’t need to give it up completely! Here’s a braces-friendly pizza recipe that’s both delicious and safe for those with braces:
- 1 thin-crust pizza base (whole grain preferred)
- 1-2 cups of low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup of pizza sauce (ensure it’s not chunky)
- Toppings of your choice (think about soft options such as bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, or even cooked chicken)
- A pinch of dried oregano and basil
- Olive oil (optional)
- Preheat your oven as per the instructions on your pizza base package.
- Spread the pizza sauce evenly on the base. Make sure you avoid heavy or chunky sauces as they could potentially damage braces.
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly across the sauce.
- Add your selected toppings. Remember to keep them soft and not overly chunky to avoid potential issues with your braces. Cooked vegetables and finely chopped or shredded meats are good options.
- For added flavor, top with a teaspoon of dried oregano and basil..
- Bake as per the instructions on your pizza base package, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
- Top with a teaspoon of dried oregano and basil for more taste. This will make it easier to eat without stressing your braces.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top before serving for added flavor and richness
How to Deal with Discomfort after Eating With New Braces
- Any lingering food particles.
- Use orthodontic wax. If your braces are causing irritation in your mouth, this wax can create a barrier, providing relief.
- Stick to soft foods in the initial days after getting your braces. Foods like soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and yogurt require less chewing and can help minimize discomfort.
- Ice packs can provide relief if you’re experiencing swelling or intense pain. Use a cloth to cover the ice pack and hold it to your cheek where you feel discomfort.
- Regularly visit your orthodontist for check-ups and adjustments. They can address any persistent discomfort and ensure your braces are working effectively.
Navigating dietary changes with braces can initially be challenging, but with proper understanding and adaptive eating habits, it’s entirely possible to enjoy foods like pizza. While you might need to approach your meals differently, you don’t necessarily need to say goodbye to your favorites. Remember, when discomfort arises, it’s usually temporary and manageable with simple strategies. Regular consultations with your orthodontist and maintaining good oral hygiene will ease the journey, ensuring a brilliant and aligned smile at the end of your braces journey. Enjoy your pizza, just remember to do so wisely
What kind of pizza can you eat with braces?
Opt for soft, thin-crust pizzas with softer toppings like well-cooked vegetables, soft meats, and cheese.
Can I eat the crust on pizza with braces?
It’s generally recommended to avoid the crust as it can be hard and potentially damage the braces. If the crust is soft and easy to chew, it may be okay.
Why can’t you have pizza with braces?
Pizza itself is not prohibited with braces, but certain factors like hard crusts or tough toppings can potentially damage the braces or get stuck in them.
Can you eat McDonald’s with braces?
Yes, you can eat certain items at McDonald’s with braces. Stick to softer options like burgers without hard toppings, chicken nuggets, or soft-serve ice cream. Avoid hard items like apple slices or crunchy snacks.