Foods You Should Avoid With Braces

July 18, 2022

While you should avoid some foods while you have braces, there are plenty of good foods you can still enjoy. It’s important to know the difference so you are able to take care of your teeth and braces throughout treatment. This article provides information on what kinds of food you can (and cannot) eat while wearing braces.

Why Should You Avoid Certain Foods With Braces?

Most types of braces are made up of brackets, bands, and arch wires. Eating certain foods can put pressure on these elements, damaging them in the process.

In addition, certain foods can make it tricky to clean your teeth while wearing braces. If you are unable to maintain proper oral hygiene, there is a higher risk of bacteria accumulating, which can lead to cavities and white spots on your teeth.

What About Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners (like Invisalign) are made of hard plastic that is customized to fit your teeth. While patients must wear them for at least 22 hours per day, you can take them out to eat, brush, and floss. This means that as long as you brush and floss your teeth before putting them back in, you can eat and drink whatever you want while wearing clear aligners.

Foods You Can’t Eat With Braces

While this list contains many of the foods you should avoid while wearing braces, it is not complete by any means. Instead of listing every food to avoid, we aim to provide the types of foods that are the most problematic. With these guidelines and your own common sense, you will be able to discern which foods are okay and which aren’t. 

If you’re button/bracket falls off after eating any of these foods, please contact your orthodontist.

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods tend to get stuck between the wires and brackets of braces. Some examples of sticky foods to avoid are:

  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Toffee
  • Caramel
  • Taffy
  • Gummy candy
  • Dried fruit

Crunchy Foods

Crunchy foods can bend the wires, break the brackets, and loosen the elastics on braces. Some examples of crunchy foods to avoid are:

  • Popcorn
  • Corn chips
  • Potato chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Raw, crunchy vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
  • Crunchy fruits like apples and pears, unless cut into small peices

Chewy Foods

Foods that require a lot of chewing can easily damage braces. Some examples of chewy foods to avoid include:

  • Beef jerky
  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Large pieces of meat

Hard Foods

Because they require so much force to eat, a single bite into one of these foods could damage your braces or teeth. Some examples of hard foods to avoid include:

  • Ice
  • Corn on the cob
  • Bone-in chicken wings
  • Hard candy
  • Croutons
  • Sunflower seeds

It’s also important to avoid biting or chewing on hard, non-edible items such as:

  • Pens or pencils
  • Fingernails
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic straws

Foods You Should Minimize With Braces

While you don’t have to avoid these foods completely, you should consume them with moderation.

Sugary foods can cause cavities no matter what’s on your teeth, but the risk is especially high when you are wearing orthodontic braces. Examples of sugary foods to consume in moderation include:

  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Soft candy

We also recommend limiting your consumption of sugary drinks, including:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweet tea
  • Gatorade
  • Coffee with sugar

Foods You Can Eat With Braces

You can enjoy many delicious foods while wearing braces. Here are some examples of foods we encourage you to eat:

  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Boneless meat
  • Soft vegetables and fruits
  • Soup
  • Milk and cheese
  • Eggs
  • Soft bread
  • Sandwiches
  • Casserole
  • Pizza (without the crust)

Life With Braces Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

As we’ve mentioned, the lists above are not exhaustive. While there are many foods you cannot eat while wearing braces, there are just as many foods that you can eat.

If you’re curious about a food that isn’t on our list, contact your orthodontist’s office. They will guide you through the different restrictions while wearing braces.

Ready to take the next step towards a straighter smile? Contact Let’s Smile today for a free smile assessment!

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