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Foods To Keep Your Jaw And Gums Strong When You Have Braces

If you have recently had braces placed on your teeth, then you probably have been informed to stay away from extremely sticky and crunchy foods. However, you still need to eat right to provide your body with the nutrition it needs. This is especially true since your mouth will need extra vitamins and minerals to heal the areas of the mouth that are stressed during the tooth movement process. If you want to start eating a diet that is specific to your needs as you wear your braces, keep reading.

Foods to Rebuild Bone

When braces are placed on the teeth, a series of wires and elastics are utilized to force the teeth forward, backward, left, or right. When this happens, the bone along the jaw is worn away and a small opening forms. Over time, the opening fills in with new bone tissue and the tooth is moved a small amount once again. The small movements help to ensure good bone remodeling without opening up a gap that is so large that the teeth are able to loosen and become knocked out of the jaw.

If you want your jaw bone to remain strong and new bone to form quickly as the teeth shift, then you will need to provide your body with calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Calcium can be found in dairy foods, and there are many soft dairy options and other foods that will not cause damage to your braces. Yogurt, cheese, tofu, kale, and steamed broccoli are all great choices. Many dairy foods also contain vitamin D, or you can find the nutrient in food items like fish and mushrooms. Magnesium can be found in broccoli, bananas, and tofu. Items like yogurt, sweet potatoes, and fish contain potassium. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish as well.

While it is wise to eat a wide variety of foods while your body is rebuilding bone tissue, broccoli, bananas, yogurt, tofu, and fish contain many of the nutrients you need, so make sure they are a main part of your diet for two weeks after an orthodontist tightens your braces.

Eating to Help Gum Tissues

Your gum tissues are likely to become scraped, bruised, and stressed when braces are placed on your teeth. Unfortunately, the many openings across the gums can leave you susceptible to infections like gum disease or the formation of sores that will not heal. You can help to prevent infections from forming by keeping your immune system healthy, and vitamin C is essential in helping your body create antibodies that fight off bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C can burn the gums, so make sure to eat other vitamin C containing foods like strawberries, kiwis, kale, and bell peppers. 

Once your immune system is kept in good shape, you will also want to think about eating items that help the body rebuild the tissues that have become damaged. Protein is needed to help the body form the fibrous collagen tissues that make up the gums. High-protein meats that include beef and pork may be too tough to eat when your gums are sore, so think about consuming cottage cheese, eggs, salmon, and peanut butter instead. 

Foods to Fight Inflammation

Pain and inflammation are common as well when you have braces. Cold foods are advisable to help soothe the discomfort, so think about eating ice cream that will provide your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to help heal the jaw and to rebuild gum tissues. You also should think about eating other foods that have been known to reduce or control inflammation. A few of these foods include blueberries, garlic, kale, spinach, cherries, and shiitake mushrooms.