Can you eat steak with braces?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat steak with braces?” and discuss which food can you eat with braces?
Can you eat steak with braces?
Yes, you can eat steak with braces. However, it may be difficult, since the orthodontics treatments cause discomfort and functional limitations regarding mastication.
A study showed that most adolescents going on an orthodontic treatment complain having difficulty to bite or chew foods like apples, corn on the cob or steak during the treatment. 39.6% affirmed to have chewing impairments after 4 months of the beginning of the treatment (1).
Usually, patients undergoing orthodontic treatment are fearful of breaking the device during chewing of hard or sticky foods and also feel bothered by food debris present between the teeth and the fixed appliance. The pain and discomfort experienced by the participants in the first and twelfth months of treatment may also have contributed to issues during eating (1).
What are the risks of eating steak while wearing braces?
The risks of eating steak while wearing braces are to break the braces, to have a pain experience due to the hardness of the steak and to have steak residues stuck on the braces and between teeth.
Steak is a food that needs mastication. Eating hard or chewy foods, such as steak, can lead to breakage and pain sensation while wearing braces. In a study investigating eating difficulties while having fixed teeth appliances, meat in particular was reported to be painful to eat by a majority of patients (2).
Steak can be eaten while wearing the braces, but care must be taken when cleaning the teeth, as food residues can get stuck between the teeth and between the braces and the teeth, and must be carefully removed from the teeth after each meal to avoid cavities.
Patients during the orthodontic treatment are advised to carry out adequate hygiene and to maintain a slow and careful mastication, to cut the food into smaller pieces and to avoid hardy and sticky foods, which will ease chewing and will reduce the likelihood of complications, such as device breakage and episodes of pain (1).
What are the benefits of eating steak while wearing braces?
The benefits of eating steak with braces are the nutrients provided by steak. Bovine meat contains proteins, fatty acids, vitamin B12 and B6, iron and other minerals, which are essential to the human body (4).
During orthodontic treatment, nutritional needs may increase due to the increased physical and emotional stress generated by the treatment. In addition, due to the eating difficulties created by the use of the device, dietary restrictions arise that threaten the nutritional quality of the patient, which may lead to malnutrition.
Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy diet during the whole orthodontic treatment. If steak is to be avoided, another source of animal protein should be consumed to substitute steak.
What are the recommendations to eat steak with braces?
To eat steak without damaging your braces and to reduce pain sensations, it is recommended to eat only tender cuts of meat. In addition, you should cut the steak in small pieces prior to eating it.
Similar to toffee, caramel, hard lollies, apples, and corn on the cob, steak is considered a hazardous food item to be consumed with braces, as it needs long chewing. Chew carefully and slowly, and choose boneless pieces.
In addition, pieces of steak can get stuck on the braces and between teeth. Food residues on braces may cause caries, sore gums and permanent stains on the teeth.
Food residues allow bacteria to grow in the mouth and attack the teeth. It is recommended, therefore, to floss and brush the teeth within 30 minutes after each meal, ensuring the removal of all food residues (3).
What can you eat in place of steak during an orthodontic treatment?
During an orthodontic treatment, you can eat other types of meat and animal proteins in place of steak. Fish and poultry meat are some examples to meet the necessary daily needs of nutrients provided by steak.
When using braces, the patient is recommended to eat soft non-sticky foods. However, a whole diet must be followed, to guarantee health and growth during the treatment, as most of the patients are adolescents in the growth phase. Meats, dairy products, cereals, vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds compose a complete diet.
Steak is a source of protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, B12 and polyunsaturated fatty acids, among other essential nutrients. This complete food cannot find a substitute in a single plant-based food, rather it may be substituted by another animal-based food.
Fish and poultry have similar nutritional profiles as steak, although they are easier to chew and are not related to high rates of breakage of orthodontic devices. Eggs are also recommended, as a soft food and good source of proteins and vitamins (4).
Other FAQs about Steak that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat steak with braces?” and we discussed which food can you eat with braces?
- Bretz, Yasmin Pissolati Mattos, et al. Perceptions of pain levels and chewing impairment among adolescents undergoing orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances. J Oral Res, 2018, 7, 102-107.
- En, Priscilla Lee Xie, et al. Dietary experiences during fixed orthodontic treatment. APOS Trends in Orthodontics. 2023.
- Peeva, Y. B. Personal Recommendations and Tips to Orthodontic Patients: A Systematic Review. J Oral Med, 2017, 1, 8.
- Khatri, Jeevan M., and Vijaymala D. Kolhe. Nutrition and orthodontics. Int J Orthod Rehab, 2018, 9, 163..