Braces straighten your teeth and enhance your smile. However, you need to brush and flush regularly and avoid foods that can break or loosen your appliances in order to stay on track with the treatment. There’s no escaping the initial discomfort and pain when you first get braces. The pain intensifies when you ignore your orthodontist’s dietary guidelines and eat inappropriate foods. Pay attention to the foods you should avoid, but don’t overlook the foods that support dental health. Dairy, leafy greens, cooked vegetables, citrus, brown rice and lentils promote teeth and gum health and won’t exert added pressure on your sensitive mouth.

Below are some simple tips for eating while wearing braces.

Take it Slow

Don’t be in a rush to leave the dinner table. Cut your vegetables and meat into bite-sized pieces and chew slowly. Don’t bite into anything or wolf down your food. You’ll have to rely on your molars a lot during the first few painful weeks, so chomping down on a turkey leg over Thanksgiving is out of the question.

Switch to Soft Foods

Hard and crunchy foods are tough on the hardware, so lay off these types of foods for the first few weeks. Steak, ice cubes, beef jerky, bagels, hard candy, pizza crust, croutons, skittles, chocolate chips and hard pretzels are foods that must be on your no-no list. Crunchy foods affect not only the hardware but also cause excess strain on your looser- than- normal teeth.

Cut Back on Sugary Foods

Sugary snacks are one of your braces’ biggest enemies. When tiny bits of sweets lodge under the brackets or wires, they can cause tooth decay and excessive plaque. Tooth decay is difficult to catch and repair when you’re wearing braces.

Say No to Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds, all varieties, are off limits. These sneaky culprits break into small pieces, stick in the brackets, and won’t come out until you brush and floss. Popcorn and sticky foods are just as troublesome, so avoid them at all costs.

Bite on the Side

Get used to biting with your side teeth since it may be almost impossible to use your front teeth. Even if you managed to use your front teeth, you’d probably end up advertising what you ate whenever you smile.

Some Good News

According to the professionals at Excel Dental, the braces eating plan is not all bad. They encourage clients to focus on the good instead of dwelling on all the restrictions. The diet is temporary, and the rewards far surpass any temporary discomfort. Even with an extensive list of foods to avoid, there are many more foods you can eat. Ice cream, frozen yogurt and smoothies are soft and easy on your mouth, and the coldness provides temporary relief from discomfort. Other acceptable foods include sugar-free gum, popcorn without kernels, thinly sliced cold cuts, bananas, raspberries, soft grains and cooked vegetables.

The pain and discomfort of wearing braces will subside after the first few weeks. When your gums toughen up, and you grow accustomed to the braces, you won’t have such a hard time eating and caring for your mouth. Exercise patience and wearing braces won’t be such a painful ordeal.