When you get braces for the first time, your orthodontist will tell you that there are certain kinds of food to avoid with braces. When you eat with braces, especially immediately after orthodontic treatment (including tightening), it’s especially necessary to watch your diet. As your teeth adjust to having braces, it’s important to take care with what you eat.
For the most part, you’ll need to watch out for food debris and items that can hit and pull on your braces which will cause you pain. There are a few specific categories of foods to avoid. Unfortunately, each section does include several types of food.
These are a concern because they can get caught on your teeth and on the brackets and arch wires of your braces. Pushing and pulling like this can cause a broken wire that will need to be readdressed by the orthodontist.
Sticky candies and foods like bubble gum also contain a huge amount of sugar, and the sticky film makes it difficult to remove dissolved sugar from under your braces and between your teeth. Large amounts of sugar can pose obvious problems from cavities to gum disease and are a concern.
Sticky, chewy foods where stickiness is an issue include:
- Gummy vitamins
Foods that have a high enough sugar content to end up sticky or leave a sticky film should also be avoided, including sugary drinks.
- Sweet tea
- Sports drinks
- Ice cream
- Candy (whether hard candy or gummy bears)
- Baked sweet treats (cake, brownies, cookies, pie)
A lot of the snacks we enjoy contain a satisfying crunch. Unfortunately, crunchy foods are some of the most dangerous to your braces. Even healthy foods like raw vegetables that are hard enough will be bad for your braces.
When you chew on hard, crunchy foods, eating can be very painful for you and dangerous for your braces. Hard foods can get stuck in and around your braces and cause a broken wire or loose bracket in your mouth. It’s best to completely avoid these types of foods because of how many problems they can pose.
- Chewable vitamins
- Ice cubes
Something that is surprising to a lot of individuals is how much bread they are told to avoid with braces. This is because bread is often baked to have a hard crust to supply some of that crunch factor. They are also often too big and require biting pieces directly off, which is specifically a hazard for your front teeth. This includes eating:
- Pizza crust
- Large rolls or sandwiches
- Hard or large burger buns
- Dense and hard rolls or bread types (rye, French bread, bagels)
This also applies to types of crunchy vegetables and fruits such as:
- Hard nuts
It is also important not to chew on objects. A lot of individuals have habits that resemble having crunchy food. Although there’s a lot to avoid when you eat with braces, there are also actions to get control of.
- Chewing on pens or pen caps is already not good for you, but chewing with braces is an additional concern.
- Biting your nails can be satisfying, but it has the same effect on getting damage to your teeth or braces.
- Grinding your teeth on toothpicks, straws, or lollipop sticks is also detrimental to your braces.
Especially right after your orthodontic treatment, your mouth and teeth will be sore and sensitive. Constant pressure from grinding or chewing on hard materials will cause you a lot of pain and discomfort along with the risks to your braces.
Separable Foods And Food Particles
Foods that have separable bits are also not braces-friendly. Materials that you will have to tear apart with your teeth or that will leave sensations or seeds in your mouth are not good for braces.
This includes whether a food is overly sour, hot or cold, or spicy. Mostly because this is a gum irritant and wears at the materials that braces are made of, you should avoid anything directly out of the freezer or immediately off the grill. Foods with a lot of citrus are foods to avoid, and spicy foods that are full of peppers can be much more painful than usual.
Foods that break apart include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Berries with seeds or pulp (strawberries, pomegranates)
- Corn, especially on the cob
- Meat (beef jerky, chicken, tough meat cuts)
Pulling things open with your teeth is also a concern, so don’t open bottles or tear open bags when you have braces on, although it’s never really a good habit.
After reading this, it can feel a little discouraging to see all the “no”s about your diet with braces. There are, thankfully, still some ideal foods that are braces-friendly.
Eating Soft Foods
Having soft foods, especially in the week right after your procedure, is best for your teeth. This can include:
- Cooked pasta
- Fruit cups and applesauce
- Soft fruits (pears, peaches)
- Cooked/baked vegetables (mashed potatoes, carrots, apples)
- Soft cheese (grated parmesan, mozzarella, cottage cheese)
- Soup (cooled to a safe temperature)
Soft meats that you don’t have to put effort into tearing, and light crackers that aren’t unyieldingly stiff or crunchy, are also options at this point.
Diced Food Choices
After a short time, having larger and harder foods will become more of an option. Larger types of food that have the potential to strain your jaw or your bands as you chew can be cut into smaller bite-sized pieces for you. As long as they aren’t off limits, most things can be chopped up for you to have an easier time.
We want to take care of you and your teeth, and though we know how difficult it can be to put yourself on such a strict diet, it will help you as you develop a beautiful smile. If your wires or brackets experience an issue while you wear braces, you can get it addressed directly with an orthodontist. If you are considering braces, even as an adult, we can walk you through the process with a free consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.