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Braces Friendly Snack Ideas

Braces change the way you eat and certain snacks are better suited to eating when in braces than others. Foods to avoid include raw vegetables like carrots or celery and raw fruit like apples or pears; sweets like chewing gum, and caramels or hard lollies. All of these can damage your new set of braces. However, you still have plenty of choices for fun and healthy foods that will not harm your braces.

 

Healthy Snacks

Fruit is an excellent healthy snack. You just need to avoid biting into hard fruits such as whole apples. You can still eat them if they are cut into smaller pieces or if you choose a softer variety. Citrus fruits are soft to chew and high in vitamin C and calcium. Other soft fruits that won’t cause damage are: bananas, berries, grapes, kiwi fruit and melons. Dairy and whole grain products offer a whole other range of options. Yogurt and cheese go well between meals. A good-old-fashioned peanut butter and jam sandwich or slices of avocado with a bit of sea salt and black pepper on soft toast are all good snack options that don’t require too much chewing.

Sweet Treats

Custards, yoghurt and ice creams provide a sweet and safe snack while you are wearing braces. Just avoid products with nuts! Chocolate and biscuits are ok as long as they aren’t too hard – biscuits dunked in hot Milo or tea are easy on your braces and delicious! It’s still wise to avoid any chewy lollies, sugarless or not, which can stick to and damage the wiring.

Crunchy or Salty Snacks

Not all crunchy foods are bad; you just need to limit the crunch. Walnuts are a softer nut that can normally be eaten safely. Small crackers or potato chips satisfy the need for crunchy and salty. You can also allow pieces to dissolve slightly in your mouth before chewing, to reduce any risk.

Soft muesli bars are also an option. Check the ingredients to ensure they contain no large nut pieces, and brush your teeth afterwards. Otherwise pieces can become stuck in your braces and become very annoying.

What are your favorite snacks while wearing braces?

Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

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What if I don’t wear a retainer after my braces come off?

In the past, once your dental braces were removed, that was it. Your treatment was over. We now know, however, that you still need to wear a retainer after treatment.

What is a retainer?

Retainers are designed to hold teeth in place after braces are removed. They are usually made of wire, plastic or a combination of both (click here for more information).

Why do I need a retainer?

If you had orthodontic treatment 15 – 20 years ago, you may find your teeth have become crooked over time. Back then, your orthodontist probably didn’t tell you to wear a retainer.

Orthodontists have tried to figure out why teeth move and whether retainers can be avoided. Studies have looked at whether other things cause teeth to move, such as wisdom teeth and the removal of certain teeth. However, the cause is none of these things. The culprit, it seems, is age. Like our hair and skin, our teeth change over time. They wrinkle in their own way — they get crooked.

How do retainers work?

Braces straighten teeth by applying pressure. Like a tree bending in the breeze, they usually want to return to their original position once the pressure is gone — especially with young patients who are still growing. Retainers increase muscle memory and keep teeth in place.

How long should I wear a retainer?

The length of time you must wear a retainer depends on your situation. We usually recommend that patients wear retainers every day and night for 6 – 12 months. Afterwards, they can usually wear them at night only for 6 – 12 months. Ideally, a retainer should be worn for a lifetime, usually just one – two nights a week, though.

What if I don’t wear a retainer for a short time?

Research shows there is always a risk of your teeth moving after treatment. If you stop wearing your retainer for a short time soon after your braces are removed (when everything is soft and not settled in) you could experience movement. Also, if your treatment was for a serious condition (like severe crowding or severely crooked teeth) your teeth could also be susceptible to movement.

In summary, once your braces are removed, please wear a retainer — prevention is far better than a cure.

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Be kind to your teeth: Why you don’t need sports drinks

Sports drinks help you “go the distance”, according to the marketing. And by drinking them, you’ll be able to push your body that little bit further. Well, unless you are an elite athlete, like Dan Carter, we at Turner Lim Orthodontists do NOT recommend them.

What sports drinks do

During vigorous exercise, if you lose more fluid than your body can replace through sweating, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration will affect your performance because your blood comprises mainly water. This causes your blood volume to decrease and means your heart must work harder to circulate blood throughout your body.

So, the purpose of sports drinks it to hydrate you by replenishing your body with carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Sports drinks are supposed to hydrate you faster than water can. In reality, you’re only likely to need them if you lose more than a litre of body fluid in an hour. And here lies the problem: Everyday sportspeople, particularly children, are highly unlikely to ever lose that much body fluid during exercise. To make matters worse, many people drink sports drinks just because they like the taste — they don’t even play sport!

A recipe for tooth decay

By drinking sports drinks, all you are doing is bathing your teeth in a sugary, acidic solution between meals — a solution that will stay in your mouth for about three hours. This can result in nasty stains on your teeth or, in serious cases, tooth decay. Recently, we had a young patient who loved playing soccer and drinking energy drinks. Unfortunately, his love for brushing his teeth wasn’t as powerful, and they began to rot away.

Tooth-decay

Sports drinks taste good but play havock with your teeth.

Worse than Coke

It’s common knowledge that Coca-Cola, due to its high sugar content, is bad for our teeth and plays a part society’s obesity problem. However, health professionals believe many sports drinks are worse.

Water is best

In most cases, there is nothing better than water for staying hydrated. And sports coaches now tend to recommend their athletes drink it instead of energy drinks.

Here’s a tip for staying hydrated when exercising:

  • Drink about half a litre of water two hours before you begin your exercise.
  • Then, about 15 minutes before you start, drink half a cup of water.
  • During exercise, take a squirt of water every 15 minutes.

If you still feel that you need something more, you can get a dose of electrolytes in tablet form — without the sugar and artificial ingredients.

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