It’s a well known fact that what you eat has an impact on your dental health, especially if you have underlying problems. Here’s a list of what is best to eat if you have sensitive teeth, braces, or just got your wisdom teeth taken out, as well as what naturally whitens your teeth and what is just generally good for oral health.
Foods for Sensitive Teeth
With sensitive teeth, you’re probably used to taking care when you eat. It can be a major hassle to find something that doesn’t cause irritation.Good news - you don’t just have to eat soft foods forever.
Some of the best foods for your teeth in general, so especially if you have sensitive teeth, are dairy products. Dairy products have substances that you need for teeth health, such as calcium and protein, which you especially need to eat if you have sensitive teeth. This will actually help to strengthen your teeth and hopefully reduce sensitivity. Things like milk, cheese, and sugar-free yogurts are great for sensitive teeth.
A lot of fruits and vegetables naturally contain a lot of fiber, which helps you salivate. This actually makes it easier to digest and helps strengthen your teeth. It has the added bonus of improving your gut health.
Foods like carrots, apples, and Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, so they are okay to eat if you have sensitive teeth. Pieces can become stuck between your teeth, so make sure to floss after eating these. Foods full of fiber that are less likely to stick between the teeth are broccoli, avocado, bananas, and pears. You can check more foods with fiber here.
Vitamins and Minerals
It is important to get vitamins and minerals, just like calcium from milk, when you eat if you have sensitive teeth. Whole grains, ginger, nuts, legumes and fish are all good sources of this, and are all very healthy for and easy on sensitive teeth. This includes things like quinoa, coconut, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, and lentils, to name a few.
Bad for Sensitivity
Some of what is bad to eat if you have sensitive teeth is obvious, but hard to hear. Any high sugar foods are harmful. Even though it is dairy, ice creams and high sugar chocolates are bad for your teeth. Candy is a no-go, as well as sodas and juices, which are high in sugar and borderline acidic. Acidic foods are especially bad to eat if you have sensitive teeth, including foods like tomatoes, coffee, and citrus.
If you have a food addiction to any of these things, you can wean yourself off of them, but still allow yourself a treat now and again. Making sure that you don't binge eat acidic foods and candies is important, and that can happen if you cut yourself off of sugar and caffeinated products quickly. Make an effort for your teeth, but make sure it's an effort that can become a lifestyle!
Foods With Braces
Although it may feel like there's a very short list of what to have when you have braces, the list is actually pretty long. Much of that list can be softer foods, though. Having soft foods are a good idea for braces in general and especially to eat if you have sensitive teeth right after first getting braces.
Right after getting braces is the hardest time adjusting to a new diet and a new constant object in your mouth. It will be important to start out with soft foods that won't irritate your mouth and teeth and be able to still eat if you have sensitive teeth from braces.
Soft cheeses, puddings, and milk based drinks are all alright for new braces-wearers. These allow the benefits of dairy without damaging your new braces or your teeth, and the calcium can help strengthen your teeth.
Fruits like bananas and grapes are good, as well as mashed fruits like applesauce. Most berries are not good for braces; they have little seeds that can get stuck.
Processed grains are good for those with braces. This includes things like oatmeal, pasta, and pancakes. Muffins are good, but not those with nuts as these will get stuck in your braces and on your teeth.
When Braces Hurt
When your braces hurt, either after a tightening or the mistake of eating carrots, it is good to go back to softer foods. Oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and boneless seafood are good to get used to at this point. Having soups and broth can give flavor without the concern of biting anything. Eggs or yogurts can lend some protein and let your braces rest when you eat if you have sensitive teeth.
General Food with Braces
For meats, things like meatballs and lunch meat are good for braces. Suna and salmon are also good. These won’t get stuck up on your teeth and don’t require a lot of tearing and pulling from your metal-bound teeth.
Softer grains are always the best option, such as pasta and tortillas. Seedy grains are best avoided, such as bread with nuts and sunflower seeds.
Treat yo’ Self
Foods like ice cream, cake, pizza bits, Cheetos, and sushi are all on the menu for you with braces. However, crunchy cookies, overly sweetened foods, and anything with nuts would be bad for your braces, so take care what you pick. Puddings and marshmallows are go-to treats while you have braces, as well as chocolate and popsicles.
Bad for Braces
Eating ice, sticky candy, and whole hard veggies is bad for you when you have braces. This can cause additional tooth pain and can get stuck in your braces and between your teeth. Hard foods like carrots and nuts are a little too intense for your teeth, and hard bread like pizza crust, bagels, and chips are a no-go. Even vitamins that you have to chew are a bad idea for the same reasons.
Foods for After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Some of the notes from braces can translate over to smart ideas when you have your wisdom teeth removed. After having these teeth removed, you will have pain as well as surgical wounds in your mouth. The main things to avoid after wisdom teeth removal are hard foods and suction.
You can get something called dry socket, which essentially is when the injured area can’t clot properly or the clot is removed by something. This can cause intense pain and can expose sensitive areas down to the bone. After all, that’s where your teeth were removed.
Safe Soft Foods
Soft foods are the main thing you’ll be eating after wisdom tooth surgery. This at first may just include liquid-based foods such as broth, jello, and soup. Blended soups like pumpkin and tomato are beneficial for this.
Mushed foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, and soft scrambled eggs are perfect for a few days into the healing process. Although you may turn your nose up, baby food, which is already mush, can be a great option. Hummus, cottage cheese, and oatmeal are also safe options
What to Avoid
Foods to avoid that cause suction include any drink or soup with a straw, oysters out of the shell, and hard candies. This includes things you would have to suck from off or between your teeth, like stringy celery or sticky caramel. The suction can dislodge the clotting covering the wound and cause dry socket or general pain.
Avoid Chunky Foods
Foods like carrots, crunchy cookies or popcorn, seeds, and berries have pieces rough enough that they can dislodge the clot forming over your wound. Avoiding them can help keep the area clean, covered, and not full of food.
Heat, both physical and chemical, is bad for your healing process. Spicy foods can cause pain and irritation in your mouth, and foods that are too hot temperature-wise can be painful and cause additional irritation. Too cold of foods can also cause this irritation
Make sure that your vitamin and mineral needs are being met during the time you’re recovering. At least a week of the softer diet is necessary to prevent most complications, but two weeks is a recommended time frame, so discuss this with your surgeon. It is important to be getting enough fluids, protein, and fruits and vegetables during this time. Keep that in mind when choosing your wisdom tooth diet.
Food for Natural Whitening
Chewing can increase saliva production and help to naturally whiten teeth. As mentioned earlier, saliva is good for your teeth, especially as it helps break down foods in your mouth. Foods that you have to chew more will also naturally scrub at your teeth, removing some of the plaque or build up on them. Crunchy (but healthy) foods, and especially fibrous foods, like broccoli, apples, and celery help with this.
Foods with vitamins are also important to teeth whitening. Getting dairy, either from milk or fake milks, is important to tooth health and for building up resistance to decay. Some of these include oat milk, soy milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Foods with healthy acids are beneficial to teeth whitening. Milk products contain lactic acid, which is what helps prevent decay. Strawberries contain malic acid, which naturally whitens teeth. Tart citrus helps produce saliva, which cleans the teeth.
Tomatoes, lemons, soda, and coffee are all bad ideas for this. Soda and lemons have too high of an acidity to be beneficial, and soda, coffee, and tomatoes can stain your teeth.
Food for general oral health
Foods high in minerals and vitamins, foods that produce more saliva like fiber and crunchy foods, and low-sugar treats are all very good for your oral hygiene. If you do begin having problems with your teeth, or you’re looking for more tips specific to your situation, be sure to get checked by a dentist to get the help you need.