Respect the braces!

Hi folks!

It’s been a while since my last post and that’s really because I’m getting very settled with my braces and not much happens on a daily basis that warrants sharing.

However, I thought I should give you newbie brace wearers a heads up about complacency. When I first got braces (and it wasn’t really that long ago) I was forever cleaning my teeth, being very mindful of what I was eating, taking things slow – being careful.

Now, I’ve realised, I’m far less diligent. I do brush my teeth after I eat BUT I’m not racing up to the bathroom a few minutes after swallowing the last bite (or stressing out in town because I can’t find a decent sink to spit in!) I sometimes wait an hour or more before venturing to the nearest sink for teeth cleaning duties. I’ve also started eating larger bites of food (which inevitably get stuck all round my braces) and speeding things up in general.

While this has made things feel a bit more normal I’m not entirely convinced I’m treating my teeth/braces with the care they deserve SO, starting tomorrow, I’m going to find a balance between my current lacksidaisical (is that a word? And if it is, is THAT how you spell it?!) attitude and the near paranoid anguish of those first few days.

I love that I’ve become more accustomed to my braces (although some days – like today – they feel bigger in my mouth than others?!) but I must remember that they need some special care and attention to do their job properly and that, ultimately, we’re all after the same goal – a beautiful smile!

Respect the Braces folks! πŸ˜‰

brushing

 

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Braces on holiday!

So – we’re nearly a month in to the braces adventure and my teeth and I are getting used to the new routines and restrictions that the ceramic brackets have brought to my daily life.

Well – I thought we were used to it until…da da da daaaaah….a 3 day mini-break in Whitby came up where the normal rules of daily life do not apply! Routine shmoutine says the 3 day mini-break. You’re on your holidays and braces be damned! πŸ˜‰

So, what issues crop up when you (and your braces) are on holiday?

Problems:

  • Finding ‘braces friendly” food (even harder when you’re vegan I can tell you!) because you can’t just take the food home and blend it!
  • Having to massively cut things up in public (elegance and dignity go out the window – see evidence below!)
  • Teeth cleaning after eating (I have my travel kit BUT you’ve also got to find somewhere relatively private, and up to your own exacting hygiene standards, with a sink – and a decent plughole – so you can have a good brush and spit out of all the food that’s hidden itself round your back teeth!)

 

crumpet

Evidence: Tea-cake made edible by excessive slicing!

Pluses:

  • Because you’re on holiday you can eat chips and mushy peas as often as you like – and they’re lovely and soft (best chips in Whitby – and the only ones not fried in beef dripping – Robertsons)!
  • Ring doughnuts – soft, melt in the mouth and ‘sea-sidey’ πŸ™‚
  • I discovered a Cornish pasty (with the crust cut off) is a very ‘easy to eat’ addition to the ‘braces-friendly’ food list

 

All in all holidays are totally do-able BUT a little bit of foresight and preparation won’t go amiss. Think about where you’re going to clean your teeth after eating (I confess there were a couple of times where I just had to wait and do it later) and also what kind of food you might be ordering when you eat out.

Happy holidays brace wearing buddies!

 

A new ‘can’t do’ (kind of!)

Here’s a thing I hadn’t thought of until today – social eating with braces (or, at least, the challenges that lie therein)!

I work at the University of Lincoln in the HR Department and I think all of my colleagues would agree that we’re pretty much ‘food-based’ as far as motivation and spikes of daily happiness goes. There are always cakes and biscuits on hand, and there’s rarely a day goes by without someone talking about food in intense detail while others listen on with rapt looks upon their faces (and often a tiny dribble of saliva down their chins!)

I do reasonably well in this environment as the food, while ever present, isn’t compulsory so, as a vegan and now a vegan braces wearer, I can enjoy watching others indulge while I carry on working and drink my herbal tea.

Well, I thought I was doing really well until – duh duh duh DUH – the social meal reared it’s head! We like to celebrate our achievements in the department and what better way than with our favourite thing – FOOD! Two email invites came through today – one to Pizza Hut and another to Doddington Hall for a (lah dee dah) afternoon tea. These emails were swiftly followed up by one just for me from our extremely thoughtful organiser of such events, who informed me that Pizza Hut could do me a vegan pizza and Doddington Hall could do me ‘dainty’ sandwiches with: hummus and caramelised onion, cucumber and pepper and pesto. Very kind (thank you Katie).

However, those who have been following my blog (and thank you very much if you have) can probably already see the challenges inherent in this…..

Pizza? Not with these chompers!

Hummus and caramelised onion (erm…caramelised onion – here are my braces please proceed to wrap yourself around them at your leisure!) Cucumber – I’ll be finding bits of that for hours afterwards. Pesto – hello pesky green bits and nut shards!

IF I could attempt these at home I could at least take my time (and it would be a LONG time – 45 minutes to eat a Nakd bar just to give you a benchmark!) and I could potentially do some chewing with my mouth open (ewww!) But in semi-polite company (sorry guys – can’t go the complete ‘polite’ I know you too well!) I can’t bring myself to do it.

So – the upshot is – I’m not joining in with Pizza (it just wouldn’t be fun for me) however, I AM going to Doddington Hall and I’ve asked for plain hummus sandwiches and a chocolate muffin (I’ll smuggle in some soya cream so I can soak it through and make it even easier to eat).

What a palaver – thank goodness I’m not free on the day of the Christmas meal – I could be there for DAYS!

Chocolate-Muffins

Chocolate muffins – what a hardship! πŸ˜‰

Things I can and can’t do…additional

Two weeks from “teeth interruptus day zero” and I’m ready for an updated “Can/Can’t Do” listing:

Things I Can’t Do:

  • Purse my lips (believe me – you do it more than you think!)
  • Say a convincing β€˜P’
  • Spit out mouthwash without dribbling
  • Eat with a spoon bigger than a teaspoon
  • Whistle (although I couldn’t do that brilliantly before to be fair)
  • Chew – though that possibly has more to do with some resin that was put on my back teeth to stop me biting my bracesΒ  (I’m literally swallowing everything straight down – sorry stomach)
  • NEW ADDITION: Bite sellotape when wrapping presents (this was raised by a fellow brace wearer and tested by me tonight – affirmative – sellotape biting is no longer viable!)
  • NEW ADDITION: Eat small grains (such as bulgur wheat, quinoa etc ) as they all get so wrapped round my teeth I feel like I’m going to cry!
  • NEW ADDITION: Take clothes tags off with my teeth (I shouldn’t have been doing it anyway so it’s not such a bad thing)

 

Things I Have Eaten (relatively easily):

  • Jacket potato and hummus (no skin)
  • Soup (blended) with tiny bits of soaked bread
  • Risotto (but eschew the peas next time – far too tricky!)
  • Overnight oats
  • Weetabix
  • Smoothie
  • Sorbet
  • NEW ADDITION: Cake WITH ice-cream!
  • NEW ADDITION: Falafel (if crumbled in soup)
  • NEW ADDITION: Jelly! Yay! Who doesn’t like jelly? (For my US readers – jello)

 

Addendum – cake achieved!

So – I went to my very favourite eatery today with my mum. It’s a lovely vegan/vegetarian cafe in Lincoln called Cafe Shanti and is run by Lincs2Nepal.

The food there is sublime and (most importantly for me at the moment) their soup is VERY well blended! πŸ˜‰

I went, fully expecting to just have my usual soup (with soaked bread) and maybe some ice-cream after BUT Mum was convinced I could manage cake (with ice-cream) so I rose gallantly to the challenge!

Turns out that vegan caramel cake with ice-cream goes down surprisingly well! The ice-cream is an absolute necessity as it helps the cake crumbs to go down your throat easier – honestly THAT’S the real reason to have ice-cream too! πŸ˜‰

So – cake (as long as it’s accompanied by ice-cream) is achievable! This brace-wearing malarkey is looking up!

cake

Day 8 – private vs public eating

So – it’s day 8. Apparently (according to the lovely letter I had from Lincoln Orthodontic Centre this morning) the worst is over. Hmmmm. Guess it depends where you sit on the issue of eating. Every day for me is a new revelation and today I would like to share with you the foods/drinks that are best eaten in private or in public!

In public

  • Soup (as long as it’s smooth and has no discernible ‘bits’ in it)
  • Jacket potato with hummus
  • Yogurt (seriously – hurrah for yogurts, they’re the winners of all brace wearing eaters!)
  • Ice-cream (if on a cone remember to lick it because you sure can’t bite into it – yeowch!)
  • Tea
  • Carton drinks (huzzah for straws!)

In private

  • Oranges (you think you’re getting away with it then you wind up with pith and skins wrapped round the back of your braces and it’s difficult to ram your hand in your mouth to dislodge it while maintaining your dignity!)
  • Soup with ‘bits’ in – especially green bits!
  • N’kd bars (or other softer cereal bars) – they take a bit of working round your mouth and you may end up looking like a masticating mastiff!

I’m sure this will become a far more comprehensive list as time goes on. I’ll keep you updated with new additions to each list as and when I discover them.

**Additional** If you want to ‘pep’ up your soups crumble up some falafel into them. It soaks up, goes nice and soggy and doesn’t get stuck round your teeth! Yay!

 

SUMMARY: Week 1 – Reports and sores!

A week on from my ‘installation’ and I’ve only just started getting properly sore areas in my mouth. I genuinely think it’s because I’m talking more now I’m back at work and so there’s far more chance of rubbing. I’ve applied some wax to the two most offending brackets (henceforth known as Perkins and Priscilla) and just lobbed a load of bonjela on the sores – YEOWZERS! To say it stings is something of an understatement – it canes! 😦

On the plus side I got my orthodontic report through the post (didn’t even know I was getting one so that was quite cool!)

report

Even though it wasn’t strictly (well, not even loosely really) about being marked on merit I was chuffed to read that I am an ‘excellent’ toothbrusher! Go me! (Silver linings and all that!)

excellen toothbrushing

What was most bizarre about the report was the photos of my teeth with my lips pulled out of the way. Seriously, they look like snapshots of some toothy sea creatures that are about to have a biting fight! Be afraid!

side shots

So – one week on, I’m getting used to them, most people have said they’re pretty subtle and I’m becoming accustomed to eating just 3 times a day, no snacking and really appreciate a lovely soft jacket potato.

Downsides – they’re a bit scratchy and, just today, have turned on my mouth with a vengeance (Perkins and Priscilla being the worst of the bunch – gits!), I can’t just eat what I want, whenever I want and I’m more mouth conscious than I’ve ever been. Still, as my sister says – endgame…endgame!