What Foods To Avoid With Braces
The biggest concern for most people is wondering how they’re going to look once they get their braces on. However, there are some other important changes that are often overlooked when it comes to living with braces. The biggest change typically involves how we eat and what we eat, which is why we’ve put together this article about the types of foods to avoid with braces.
What Foods To Avoid With Braces
Braces have a tough job to do! Not only do they have to move your teeth and jaw into the proper positions, they also have to endure the tough conditions inside your mouth.
As you can imagine there’s a lot of chewing, mashing, picking, and brushing to deal with on a daily basis. This is why braces are built from strong materials, but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. Braces are built to be strong and sturdy, but brackets and wires can easily loosen, bend, move, and break when not properly cared for. The fastest way to bend or break your braces is by eating incorrect foods or not taking the time to properly prepare your food before eating.
In addition to damaging your braces, certain foods can also damage your teeth. Braces make it more difficult and time consuming to care for your teeth, especially in hard to reach places which increases the chances of tooth decay and staining while you have braces. Some of your favorite foods may be included in the list below, but don’t panic. We cover the main types of foods to avoid with braces but we’ve also included tips to properly eat those foods in order to minimize risk to your teeth and braces.
Hard Foods (Ex: Fruits and Vegetables)
The first type of foods to avoid with braces are “hard foods”, like fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are great for your health and it’s important that these types of foods are included in your diet. However, biting into an apple, pear, corn on the cob, or raw carrot can do serious damage to your braces. Even if you’re careful when biting into these types of foods, it’s very common for fruits, vegetables, and other hard foods to get stuck between your teeth and braces. Getting hard foods stuck can result in bent wires or broken brackets when they get stuck.
Getting braces doesn’t give you an excuse to stop eating healthy, but it will require you to spend more time prepping your food. To avoid damaging your braces with hard fruits and vegetables, it’s best to never bite into them whole. Instead, take the time to cut fruits and vegetables into small slides or chunks that can fit entirely in your mouth so you can effortlessly chew with your molars. We also recommend softening vegetables by steaming or boiling them.
Like hard foods, crunchy foods can easily bend and break your wires. Common crunchy foods include ice, nuts, hard bread, chips, cookies, and popcorn. You want to try and chew crunchy foods with your back molars, rather than your front teeth. Even foods like pizza should be eaten carefully, especially if it has a crunchy crust. To be safe, always cut pizza and similar foods into smaller bite-sized pieces to reduce the wear-and-tear on your front brackets and wires.
Hard & Sticky Candies
Hard candies, like lollipops and peppermints, should only be sucked and never bitten. Caramel, fruit roll-ups, jelly beans, taffy, candy bars, Skittles, and other sticky foods should be avoided at all costs. Chewing sticky foods can push and pull on your wires and end up prolonging your treatment. Also, keep in mind that candies that contain high amounts of sugar can cause tooth decay, especially when it gets lodged between teeth for extended periods of time.
Gum and braces do not get along. If you try to chew gum with braces, it will get stuck between the brackets and wires, and picking it out is never fast or easy. Even your toothbrush won’t be able to remove all of it so if you like to chew gum, or use it often to freshen your breath, we highly recommend you try using mints or brushing more often with a minty toothpaste instead.
Sweets and sugary drinks
Pastries and soft sweets won’t typically damage your braces, but they do promote staining and tooth decay. The same applies to dark drinks, like coffee, and sugary drinks, like sodas. It’s okay to occasionally enjoy sweets and dark or sugary beverages, but we recommend brushing and flossing after and using a straw for the beverages to limit contact with your teeth and reduce the chances of staining and discoloration.
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Have questions about foods to avoid with braces, or looking for tips to better prepare foods that you love so you can continue enjoying them with braces? Ask us in the comments below!