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5 Foods You Should Avoid While Wearing Braces

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Even though modern-day braces are stronger and sturdier than ever, there are still certain foods patients should avoid so they don’t accidentally damage their appliance. Doing so can lead to discomfort and potentially lengthen the treatment process, which nobody wants! Thankfully, the list of “off limit” foods is relatively short, and skipping out on them temporarily will go a long way in helping someone achieve a perfectly straight smile as quickly as possible!

Avoid These Foods While Wearing Braces!

  • Popcorn: Popcorn itself isn’t dangerous for braces, but every bag or bowl also contains un-popped kernels that can accidentally remove a bracket with one errant bite.
  • Sticky Candy: Sticky candies pack a one-two punch for people with braces. One, they can actually pull off elastics while chewing, and they also expose the teeth to a lot of sugar. Because the candy is so sticky, this makes the sugar pretty tough to remove even with brushing and flossing, increasing the risk for cavities.
  • Hard Cookies, Crackers, or Candies: Similar to popcorn kernels, taking a bite of an extremely hard food can lead to a bracket coming off, which in addition to being annoying, also means that someone needs to go see their orthodontist right away.
  • Gum: Gum can be very sticky and easily become tangled among wires and brackets. Patients can have sugar free gum though
  • Ice: Not necessarily a food, but many people like to munch on ice after finishing a cold beverage. This habit isn’t just bad for the teeth, but it can dislodge brackets and bend wires as well.

Braces-Friendly Snacks

As you’ve likely noticed, all of the foods listed above would probably be considered snacks or treats by most people. So, if you shouldn’t munch on certain candies or chew gum with braces, are there alternatives your orthodontist would approve? Fortunately, yes! Whenever you get a craving for something sweet or savory, you can enjoy the following items without worrying about your braces:

  • Soft chocolate: This can refer to candy bars, fudge sauce, or even chocolate ice cream. Be careful if the chocolate contains large pieces of nuts, however.
  • Pre-popped Popcorn: At the store, you’ll find many varieties of pre-popped popcorn in the chips aisle. It comes in almost every flavor you can imagine, and even better, there are no random kernels!
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is both safe for braces and contains tooth-strengthening calcium, just be wary of flavors that contain a lot of added sugar.
  • Cheese: Cheddar, gouda, provolone, mozzarella…pretty much any cheese is fair game if you have braces (accept for whole pieces of parmesan, which can be extremely hard).
  • Fresh/soft cookies: Cookies just out of the oven are warm, soft, and wonderful, plus they won’t cause any trouble for braces. There are many kinds of “chewy” cookies available at the store as well.

Basically, your main takeaway from this blog should be this: braces give you permission to eat as many freshly baked cookies as you want (not really)! In truth, small adjustments to someone’s diet can make a big difference in the speed and efficiency of their braces treatment, so before your next snack, be sure to keep this list in mind…your future self will thank you!

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning orthodontist, Elite Invisalign provider, and proud father of three. Over the years, he and the team at Shirck Orthodontics have helped countless people of all ages achieve straight, healthy, and attractive smiles using the most advanced treatments and methods, and they’re ready to do the exact same for you or your child! To learn more about your treatment options with us, we invite you to schedule a FREE consultation at one of our convenient locations.