LAST UPDATED: APRIL 25, 2017
When your braces first go on, whether you’re using traditional shiny metal brackets or Invisalign treatment, there are several foods that you should avoid. This isn’t your orthodontist advice. Instead, it’s necessary in order to keep your brackets, wires, and appliances in place, doing their job to make a better, brighter smile.
What are some Foods to Avoid?
There are several foods that are on the list that you shouldn’t eat at all while you’re wearing braces. They include:
- Whole apples, pears, and other crunchy fruits that haven’t been cut into thin wedges
- Uncooked carrots, including baby carrots
- Crunchy corn chips
- Gummy candy
- Whole nuts
- Hard candy and crunchy candy, including treats like peanut brittle
- Whole, crunchy pickles
- Hard, crunchy pizza crusts (soft crust and the rest of the pizza are fine; just avoid the crunchy crust)
- Peanut butters
- Extremely sticky candies like taffy
- Corn on the cob (off the cob is fine)
- Tough meats–beef jerky and Slim Jim type snacks, in particular
- Ribs and chicken wings on the bone–taking the meat off the bone makes these edible again
What are some Non-Food Items to Avoid?
It’s amazing how many things you discover that you put in your mouth when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment and can’t anymore. These bad habits aren’t just hard on your teeth in general. They’re even harder on those critical brackets and wires! To help keep your orthodontics in good shape, avoid the following:
- Chewing your nails. It can bend wires or even cause brackets to pop off.
- Chomping on ice. You can still have ice in your drink, but you shouldn’t put in your mouth by itself. This includes “sucking” on the ice, which could still cause rough handling of your brackets.
- Chewing on pens and pencils, which can lead to unnecessary stress on brackets and wires.
- Chewing gum. Some orthodontists may allow the use of sugar-free gum, but in general, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
What are Foods to Eat With Caution?
Yes, your orthodontist is serious when they tell you to exercise caution when consuming certain foods! While they can be consumed safely, it’s important to follow proper consumption instructions so that you aren’t endangering the integrity of your brackets, wires, or Invisalign treatment.
- Chewy bread like bagels should be consumed carefully. It’s better to break them up into small pieces before consuming. It’s also important to note that bread, in general, may get balled up underneath your wires, making it difficult to clean them.
- Hard, crunchy chips and hard tacos should be consumed with caution. Typically, it’s better to break them up in pieces or consume them one at a time.
- Candies and soda, in general, should be consumed cautiously when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. It’s hard enough to get your teeth clean when you don’t have a mouthful of appliances! Decay can sneak in when you least expect it, so avoiding or minimizing treats that are high in sugar will be best for the time being.
- Bread with a hard, firm crust like French or Italian bread should be cut up into small pieces. Cut the crust off entirely or chew it with your back teeth to avoid causing problems with your brackets.
- Raw vegetables need to be cut up in small pieces before consuming. For an even better option, try steaming or sauteing vegetables to create a softer texture that will be easier to chew.
- Hard, crunchy cookies should be softened in milk or avoided for their softer counterparts for the time being.
What are Foods You Can Have with braces?
The list of foods that you can’t have while wearing braces is extensive and often frustrating! Fortunately, there are plenty of foods that you can still have. Many of them may become your new favorites. If you’re having trouble putting together a new grocery list or figuring out what to eat, try some of these:
- Soft fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe, plums, and peaches, especially cut up into small pieces.
- Small fruits like grapes, blueberries, and strawberries, though it might be best to opt for seedless grapes for now.
- Yogurt, frozen yogurt, and ice cream
- Bread, especially soft ones
- Muffins, cakes, and soft cookies that don’t contain nuts
- Eggs in any form–scrambled, hard boiled, and over easy are all approved!
- Pasta noodles in any sauce you like, as long as it doesn’t contain nuts
- Soups, stews, and chilis
- Hamburgers and hot dogs
- Any meat of your choice as long as it’s not on the bone
Adapting to a new diet because of your orthodontic work can be difficult at first. Keep in mind, however, that it’s done to help complete your treatment in a timely manner and ensure that you don’t experience discomfort as a result of bent or broken appliances. When in doubt, assume that you need to avoid hard, sticky, or potentially damaging foods and check with your orthodontist at your next appointment.
Offering a Free Consultation
For expert treatment from a personable expert, visit Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., for a free consultation concerning your malocclusions. Our orthodontist is Dr. Stephan Tisseront who is able to examine and treat adults, teenagers and children. We provide an assortment of orthodontic treatments that include:
• Lingual braces from Incognito and Harmony
• Invisalign aligners designed for teenagers and adults
• Traditional metal and wire brackets
• Surgical treatments
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762 Phone: (703)773-1200
Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces