One of the first questions orthodontists are often asked after someone gets new braces is about the types of foods they can eat. While many recommend sticking to soft foods at first, what about oatmeal? Can you eat oatmeal with braces? Let’s find out.
Nearly $2.5 billion of oatmeal is sold worldwide each year. And nearly half a billion dollars is sold in the US alone. That makes it one of the country’s most popular breakfast foods. But what if you’ve just had braces put on? Can you still enjoy this comforting dish?
It turns out that oatmeal is one of the best foods to eat if you have braces. Not only is it soft and easy to chew, but it also won’t stick to your braces either. That means you shouldn’t have to worry about harming your braces if you eat it.
Here are some best practices for enjoying oatmeal so your braces and your teeth stay healthy.
Tips for eating oatmeal while wearing braces
The first week of wearing your braces can be an adjustment period as you get used to them, learn what foods you can eat, and how to eat them.
Oatmeal is a great option during this time as it’s soft and not sticky. So it shouldn’t damage your braces or adhere to them.
If the oatmeal does get stuck in them, brush and floss carefully until the food is dislodged. This can help prevent damage to your braces and possible tooth decay later on.
If you want to add some more flavor to your oatmeal, consider adding other soft foods like blueberries, bananas, or mashed pear. A touch of cinnamon can also give the oatmeal some added deliciousness.
Other good breakfast foods if you wear braces
In addition to oatmeal, there are a variety of foods you can eat for breakfast if you wear braces. Here are some other braces-friendly foods:
Rice cereal. Cereals like Rice Krispies are good to eat if you wear braces as long as you let them soak in milk for a couple of minutes. That lets the cereal get a little soggy so you’re not biting down on food that’s too hard or crunchy. As an added bonus, they also don’t have as much sugar as many other cereals.
Cream-of-wheat. This porridge-like food resembles grits, but it’s made with wheat instead of corn. The soft texture makes them another good food for those with braces.
Yogurt. Not only is yogurt soft and easy to manage with braces, it’s also convenient. Don’t have time to make oatmeal? Simply pop open a container of regular or Greek yogurt. It’s a quick and healthy way to start your day.
Fluffy eggs. Scrambled eggs or an omelet are also good options for breakfast if you wear braces. If you opt for an omelet, just take care to avoid adding foods that may be hard to chew like chunks of ham or bacon or crunchy vegetables.
Smoothies. These are an excellent choice if you wear braces as there’s not much chewing involved! And they’re versatile — you can blend together different fruits and vegetables to get a great-tasting breakfast. Soft fruits like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and mangoes are great choices. If you want some vitamins and minerals from vegetables, consider mixing in spinach or kale, like in this healthy Super Green Smoothie.
Protein shakes. These shakes are also a quick and easy option. And like smoothies, you can add softer fruits to them for more flavor and extra vitamins.
Soft cheese. Softer options like cream cheese are also ok to eat with braces. But be careful of what you put it on, such as a toasted bagel, for example. The bagel could be hard and chewy, making it difficult on your braces.
Breakfast foods to avoid with braces
While oatmeal is a great way to enjoy breakfast while wearing braces, orthodontists say you should avoid eating crunchy cereals or other crunchy foods. They can put too much pressure on your metal braces and bend or even break wires and other components. That can require orthodontic treatment to fix them.
Some hard cereals can also contain high amounts of sugar. These types of sugary foods can contribute to tooth decay.
Also, as a general rule, steer clear of sticky foods like cereals with marshmallows or that have honey clusters. Peanut butter can also pose problems. All of these can stick to your braces and could also damage them. If you do decide to eat peanut butter, dentists say it’s a good idea to choose the smooth variety over the chunky one.
Other hard foods to avoid for breakfast (and other meals) include nuts, hard fruits like apples, raw vegetables, and bread with a hard crust. If you opt for bread, choose soft, whole wheat bread. But a note of caution, soft bread and other chewy foods can easily get stuck in your braces, so take care to brush or floss if that happens.
Oatmeal and dental hygiene when wearing braces
Even though oatmeal is a great choice for braces wearers, dentists recommend following a good oral hygiene regimen after eating it and other foods in order to maintain healthy teeth and take extra care of your braces. Here are some tips:
- Brush often. Use a soft toothbrush after eating to carefully remove any stuck-on food items. Angle the toothbrush to get to any hard-to-reach areas along the braces.
- Rinse. Get rid of food particles that may collect in your braces after you eat by rinsing with water throughout the day.
- Floss. Do this at least once a day. The best way is to use floss wire to carefully get under the wires of the braces. Use a long section of floss to get to your back teeth.
- Use an oral irrigator or water jet. This device uses a pressurized stream of water to dislodge food from teeth and braces. It can also remove small pieces of stuck-on food particles and plaque.
Yes, it’s ok to eat Overnight Oats, as the soft texture will not harm your braces. However, be careful to avoid adding any hard or sticky ingredients like nuts or raisins. Hard and crunchy foods can bend braces. Sticky ones can get lodged in between them.
Soft oatmeal pie is ok to eat with braces. But avoid ones with hard or crunchy toppings like nuts. Also, brush afterward to help remove any stuck-on foods.
If you’ve just been fitted with braces, that first week can be a bit of trial and error as you try different foods. But the good news is that there are plenty of food options you can have that won’t damage your braces or give you a sore mouth. And oatmeal is one of the best.
Dentists say the important thing when getting used to new braces is starting with soft, easy to chew foods that will go easy on sensitive teeth.
More food-related answers
Wondering what other foods you can or can’t eat with braces? Tap the posts below.
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