In Part I of F&B Food & Braces, we looked at the dietary change for a patient with braces. To summarize, a patient should consume soft foods while avoiding hard, crunchy and sticky foods. This will help the patient minimize discomfort to the teeth and reduce damage to the braces. In Part II, we will look at changes to how the food is consumed.
* Chew with back teeth
Before putting on braces, a patient may not be conscious of the teeth used in biting and chewing food. However, once braces are put on, the patient should be more mindful of the teeth that are used in consuming food and try to use the back teeth to chew food. This is because braces increase the sensitivity of teeth by exerting pressure to move the teeth into new positions and chewing with the back teeth, which are thicker, will help alleviate the pain experienced by the front teeth. To further reduce pain experienced by the front teeth, smaller bites should be taken and the front teeth should not be used to pull and tear the food.
* Cut food into smaller pieces
Food should be cut into smaller pieces to aid consumption and minimize excessive chewing motions. This will help reduce discomfort to the teeth. Moreover, cutting food into smaller pieces will ensure that the food is not big enough to cause damage to the braces. With smaller pieces. the amount of chewing that the teeth have to do is better managed.
* Drink water while consuming food
Water helps to lubricate the food during mastication and makes swallowing easier if the food is hard to chew. Drinking water also has the added benefit of rinsing away food residue that may get trap in the braces.
* Eat slowly
Eating slowly will help to reduce discomfort especially after the braces have been adjusted by the orthodontist. This is because sudden chewing movements may result in inconsistent pressure being applied to the teeth by the braces. Also, chewing too quickly may result in increased pain and inflammation. This is because the bones and ligaments in the mouth are already affected by the forces from the braces to straighten the teeth and are ill-adept to accommodate fast chewing motions. Moreover, eating slowly increases deliberation and helps the patient to avoid chewing and biting into bones, pits and seeds.