No one wants to be prevented from eating their favorite foods. Braces-wearers – kids, teens, or adults – however, have rules to follow, especially when it comes to chewy, sticky, or hard foods. Modern braces are strong and durable, but they are still vulnerable to damage. Anything that tugs at your wires or brackets or is easily stuck can wreak havoc on your orthodontic work, damaging your braces, threatening your teeth, and requiring a trip to your Woodinville orthodontist.
Avoid These Foods While Wearing Braces
- The chewy, sticky stuff: If it is difficult to chew or unstick a food from your teeth or even your hands, it won’t come away from your braces easily either – and may bring some of the braces with it. This category includes gum, even sugar-free gum. Any taffy, caramel, or chewy candy is bad for your tooth enamel in general, getting caught in the crevices and coating your tooth enamel in sugars and bacteria.
- Popcorn: You know how easily popcorn gets stuck in your teeth on a good day. Introduce your braces to popcorn and the relationship will not be a happy one, potentially damaging wires or getting lodged.
- The crunchy stuff: Crackers, corn chips, hard taco shells, pretzels – yep, we’re eliminating all your favorites – should be eaten with caution. Even the thinnest versions of these foods can damage your braces.
- Corn on the cob: You don’t have to give up your favorite yellow veggie completely, but you can’t bite into corn on the cob with braces without exposing your hardware to damage. Cut off the kernels before you indulge.
- The hard stuff: Hard candy, ice, nuts and seeds – biting into something hard when you’re wearing braces can force your wires out of alignment.
- Beef jerky: Gnawing on a piece of beef jerky or a similar food may feel soothing to braces-wearers who are feeling soreness or discomfort. However, the tearing that your teeth must do also exposes your braces to force and pressure, and potential damage.
- Soda and sugary drinks: Water is your best friend when wearing braces and milk is good too. Any sodas, sports drinks, or fruit juices are poor beverage choices on a non-braces day – if you’re wearing braces, the drinks will settle on your teeth and around your brackets, potentially damaging enamel and causing tooth decay.
Be Careful Eating These Foods with Braces
All your favorite foods don’t have to be eliminated from your diet while you’re wearing braces. You can avoid the hardware landmines by cutting some foods into small pieces or softening them, making them easier for your molars to chew and less detrimental to any brackets or wires.
- Soften hard cookies by dipping them in milk.
- Cut pizza crust or bagels into small pieces and chew carefully.
- Cut a burger into pieces instead of biting into it.
- Slice apples, carrots, or whole, raw veggies into bite-sized pieces.
- If a food is hard to eat even without braces – like ribs or chicken wings – avoid it or cut it up to be manageable.
Ultimately, braces-wearers have responsibilities when it comes to their orthodontic journey. Taking care of your braces is one of the biggest jobs, and that includes making smart choices about what and how you eat, and thoroughly cleaning your braces and teeth after meals. (Of course, if you wear Invisalign, you can eat whatever you want without restrictions.)
Learn more about how to have a successful orthodontic journey. Contact Soleil Orthodontics today to schedule your consultation with orthodontist Dr. Soleil Roberts in Woodinville, Washington.