A Foodie's Nightmare? How To Deal With Braces During The First Week

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Me before getting braces
Growing up, I never had the best set of teeth ever. Although it never really affected my career and my life in general, yet a lot of people would notice me to having small, baby-like teeth (unlike my two siblings who both had a perfect set). I would always ponder about having braces, but over the years I was too afraid to get them for one reason: that dreaded feeling of frustration while eating.

Yes, this foodie who used to is sacrificing all the DELICIOUS, APPETIZING, YUMMY, SWEET food that are not supposed to be eaten with braces just so I can get a good set of pearly whites. Even when I finally decided on having them a week ago, I even talked to my dentist and shared my feelings not of pain or having that bulk look on your lips, but on how I should manage to eat even after the installation of the appliance. "Doc, please, let me eat today", I said. And yet, after about an hour and a half, I said hello to my new adult braces. Super high-pitched sarcastic yey! Let's do this.

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WAHAHA! These braces made me look like a 12-year old.
Still, to be an avid food explorer with braces is an entirely different thing from those who are not wearing them. It's like having to switch onto a new lifestyle which I am sharing now because I have been reading a lot of crap on the internet saying that you can eat anything? Crap! 

I say that it's just about choosing the right food that is appropriate to consume depending on your case. I, for example, have small set of teeth with gaps on my top and bottom incisors, so when I had my brackets placed there was only a minimal space for the food to move in. At present, the back part of my teeth has the greatest contribution on why I am eating. All the rest are just feeling a little fuzzy with a hint of pain and movement. 

I tell you, the first week was like having a pain in my heart. It was the end of days. The horrors. But I survived! Here is a quick account of my first week in the metal mouth category:

Day 1, Friday - Braces finally were installed. Feeling great, but with an awkward feeling of having something in your mouth that made you look like Katy Perry in one of her music videos. My dentist only warned me to eat carefully and I let her know if ever my brackets loosen or fall along the way.

I celebrated the painless  procedure with some fried chicken, sinigang na baboy, and fried rice. It felt weird as I went a few times to the restroom just to take off the food stucked to my teeth. It didn't feel right, you know.

Day 2: still hiding from the awkwardness
Day 2, Saturday - After the night before's ultimate food trip, I had lunch at a blogger event of a new food joint. Hardly touched the other dishes, and I struggled eating a burger. There was pasta and risotto, so at least that was a delight. I was feeling kinda worried about drinking coffee, so I got an affogato instead (so I can use a spoon to have it without touching my teeth so much). Day 2 was painful but I got by through it by taking Advil (which I stopped taking after Day 3, find out why in a bit)

My sister and her perfect set of teeth
Day 3, Sunday - To cap off my birthday week, we had a scheduled dinner that night. The pain was like being punched in the face. I also noticed that my cheek was already starting to bruise because one of my brackets was poking it, which eventually resulted to a big mouth sore. Arggh. I had no ortho wax during that time so I had to wait until the next day to buy some at the mall. I only ate some soup, and had a few spoons of food based on what we ordered. I was famished and getting concerned now. I can't even write on my blog because the pain wasn't helping me to concentrate.

Day 4, Monday - Finally covered one of my brackets with some ortho wax. Whew! Lunch was a plate of the softest burger steak at Hizon's Restaurant, and ramen for dinner. The food eating part is getting more and more frustrating as days pass by. After reading a lot of boring (and some interesting) testimonials on how to live with braces, I immediately stopped taking Advil because it slows down tooth movement. 

Tuesday to Thursday wasn't any better. I wasn't feeling at my best state, the pain on my teeth still bothered me and I feel like my teeth are getting plucked out from my gums. I only mustered to consume smoothies and shakes, soup, iced coffee, really cold water, and cold milk to help with digestion. The plastic straw was my best friend because when I drink it refrains touching my mouth sore, which adds more pain than usual.

And because I stopped taking painkillers, between these days I also experienced really bad headaches, especially before sleeping. I wasn't eating the right food, my cheeks look swollen and I cry over the idea of brushing my teeth and swishing my mouth with some gargle (which relieved my sores after about 2 weeks).

But I drank two bottles of light beer on Friday that same week to somehow keep my mind off from the concept of food being stucked in my mouth. I had some mashed potatoes at KFC with lots of gravy for lunch; and then a few slices of cake for dinner, and oh, some leftover lechon from one of the events I attended to later that night. 

Pushing my limits with lechon

The lechon leftovers was perfect, because they were already cut up into small pieces and the lechon skin was soft (I never had any interest in soft lechon skin until that time hahaha!) 

By the end of the working week, I got a number of advice from people who are also currently dealing with braces and those who have already gone through the metal mouth stage. Here are some tips:

- Use ortho wax continuously until your mouth gets used to the brackets
- Eat using your back teeth
- Retainers are important after treatment (because a friend of mine said his teeth moved back to its original positions after not getting one)
- Test yourself slowly on what you can and cannot eat (craving for chicharon? I feel I'm not confident to eat this yet but YES it is possible to consume this as long as you can work on your own eating techniques)

The Katsu Curry Don!
After my first week, my whole mouth was still in pain (though it lessened a bit) and mostly it's because of my mouth sore. But I was able to eat better, having rice for the first time in a week (the Katsu Curry Don from Yabu is noms!). As for Sunday, I was out of town for an office activity so I expected to consume more. So far it was the best day since my braces got installed. I was able to eat siomai, roasted chicken and liempo, crab and corn soup, breaded fish fillet and some carbonara! The thing is, I only ate in small portions and did not manage to eat rice. It wasn't a lot, but at least I get to eat many dishes that day. 

As I am now moving towards my second week in braces and getting more concerned with my food intake, here are a list of food hacks you can consume, especially if you are like me who has a dayjob and is working within business districts.

Spot the swimming hotshots
- Smoothies/Shakes! Choose from Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Big Chill or your friendly Fruitas stalls.
- If there is a Soup Kitchen branch near you, I recommend getting a full bowl of their chili. Or you can choose from their other soup varieties. Other than that, make your own soup! :)
- KFC is currently a savior for on the go mashed potatoes and gravy. I always ask for extra gravy (just because I can)
- Noodles! Although it sticks even more in between the wires, but you'll get used to it. Just make sure to also get used to going to the restroom to brush your teeth or gargle.
- Porridge, aka your friendly neighborhood Goto and Arroz Caldo.
- I recently bought myself some large hotshots from KFC wherein I had them 'swimming' in gravy to get the crunchy texture off of the friend chicken pieces. Food hack for metal mouths right here!

As of today, my teeth hurts no more (but my mouth sore is still ongoing treatment through Betadine) but one of my brackets loosened so I'm taking a quick trip to the dentist. 

A lot of people say that if you get braces there is a bigger chance you'll lose weight. But I think more than not getting to eat, overall health is still important, so you won't end up having digestive problems or constipation. So don't just take care of your teeth, also take care of your tummy!:)

Any other tips you can share for those dealing with braces? Or would you have your own food hacks for those who have braces? Don't forget to share them on the comments section below! 

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1 comment:

  1. The struggle IS real. Just had my braces installed, and damn it's a pain in the a**. Thanks for the tips though.