Braces and Weight Loss

My daughter got braces four months ago. She also had to have a bite plate. She had a very hard time eating the first month and started losing weight. She has lost ten pounds. She was a little heavy. Now she is about normal, I think, for her height . She still has trouble eating and her appetite is not as good as it was before braces. Has anyone else lost weight after getting braces? Is this normal?

Question:

Losing ten pounds of weight over four months is not extreme. However, you should definitely watch your daughter's weight fluctuations closely during the next several months. There are several height/weight charts used to track females as they grow. The following ranges are generally considered to be normal:

Height Low Healthy Range
4'8"
5''3"
5'10"
88 lbs.
105 lbs.
126 lbs.
95-112 lbs.
116-135 lbs.
145-170 lbs.

I was unable to locate any studies that specifically address weight loss during orthodontic treatment. Accordingly, my answer is based solely on my personal experiences and speculation.

When braces are fitted and periodically adjusted, the teeth loosen and migrate. This can cause pain as the teeth drift into their new position. It may be difficult to bite and/or chew certain foods during orthodontic treatment. In fact, biting into whole apples and chewing hard and/or sticky food is discouraged while a patient is wearing braces. Slicing foods into bite-sized pieces should reduce most of the discomfort and prevent damage to the orthodontic appliance.

Appetite should not be adversely affected during orthodontic treatment. The same healthy foods can be eaten in the same recommended daily allowances, albeit in a slightly altered form (i.e. sliced, diced, cut, etc.).

Braces may cause your daughter to eat slower which, in turn, may cause her to feel satiated sooner than before she had braces. Accordingly, she may eat a bit less at each meal. If she ate alot of hard, high caloric food and sticky candy before she wore braces, her consumption of these foods has probably decreased. This may also explain some minor weight loss.

Of course, there are a plethora of other explanations for weight loss that are completely unrelated to orthodontic treatment. For example, if your daughter has become more active in the last four months, weight loss would be expected. Losing weight without even trying might seem like good news. However, weight loss that cannot be explained by diet or exercise may be an early sign of cancer, diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland, or digestive problems. Debi, I do not mention these conditions to scare you. However, I would be remiss in my reply if I did not mention them. It is best to watch your daughter's eating habits and general health. If her weight continues to decline, see your physician.

Answer:
Need Advice?
Get answers from iVillage experts and other moms just like you!
ASK YOUR QUESTION
Question Details
Subject
  1. Pick a subject:
Connect with 1,039,394 members just like you
Share your knowledge, ask questions.