Whenever people I know start wearing teeth or dental braces, I always hear about how it affects their diet, how eating becomes difficult, and how much weight they’ve lost since they’ve had their braces done.
So it got me thinking: Does wearing braces really affect diet and promote weight loss? Could it really be possible that wearing your braces to fix your teeth can also cause, let’s say abdominal fat loss or even weight loss in general?
Dental braces are orthodontic devices used to align or straighten teeth and correct their position to improve bite and dental health. There are many types of teeth braces – clear, gold-plated, and titanium. But the most widely used kind is the traditional metal wired braces which are usually used for children as well as adults. These braces consist of small brackets. Each bracket is glued or attached to the front part of every tooth. The molars are then adjusted through a band that surrounds the tooth.
DIet Changes You Need to Adjust to
When you have newly installed teeth braces, you’ll find it difficult to adjust not just to the presence and the sensation of it in your mouth but also to the changes you need to make in your diet. Having braces means taking extra care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and of course, the braces. To speed up treatment and avoid damage to the braces, your orthodontist will give you a list of food that you can and cannot eat, which may or may not affect your diet, but not necessarily to promote weight loss or abdominal fat loss.
For one, you can’t eat sticky sweets or snacks like gum, taffy, toffee, caramel, hard candy, and hard pretzel. Sticky food will pull at the teeth and the brackets. Sweet and sticky food will also get lodged between teeth which can cause cavities and teeth discoloration. You also have to avoid sugary and acidic drinks like soda and fruit juices. The sugar and acid on these beverages can damage the glue that keeps the brackets stuck to the teeth. Loosened brackets mean you need to have your braces repaired, prolonging the treatment even more. The braces can weaken the teeth enamel too, which will expose your teeth to more risk and damage.
Another change in your diet when wearing braces is that you need to cut up hard, solid foods like carrots and apples before eating them. They need to be cut into bite-sized pieces then you must chew them using your back teeth. You also can’t bite on crusty breads, spare ribs, nuts, corn on the cob, and more. And a few days after your braces are done, you need to go on a soft diet which means you can only have soft food like soups and pudding.
So you need to cut your food into smaller pieces or go on a soft diet. Will doing these things make you lose weight? The answer is no. Just because you’re on a soft diet, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat whatever you want. You actually still can because all you need to do really is mash, puree, or blend them. Moreover, you can still eat food that can fatten you up even if you’re on a soft diet. You can still add heavy cream, finely grated cheese, or bacon bits to your soup. You can also eat other fattening food easily like fries, moist cake, or even ice cream.
The thing about braces that would probably contribute to weight loss, but not really cause it, is the reduction of sugar intake. Since you need to avoid sticky and sugary food and drinks, you’re able to reduce your intake of sugar which is a huge source of calories. FYI, a teaspoon of sugar has 6 empty calories (no nutritional value but fattening). In short, you can reduce sugar which can make you unhealthy and overweight. Then again, you can still get sugar from softer sweet food like cakes and ice cream.
So does wearing braces affect diet?
Yes. Does it promote weight loss? No. Abdominal fat loss or general weight loss can only be achieved through proper diet and exercise, not by wearing braces. In other words, weight loss really depends on the discipline of the person who wears the teeth braces, and never the braces.