Foods to Avoid with Braces
This is a list of foods – and a few non-edible items! – that have the potential to damage your orthodontic appliances and slow down your treatment time.
It is always important to be cautious and care for your braces so that your final smile can be revealed as soon and as beautifully as possible.
Foods High in Sugar Content:
Foods high in sugar content should be limited. The rare occasions that they are consumed should be at times when you are able to brush immediately afterward. Avoid gum and soda containing sugar. These foods have the potential to cause heavy plaque build-up. The combination of sugar and plaque causes acid in the mouth, which can lead to swollen gums, white spots on the teeth, and decay.
Foods that You Would Normally Bite into with Your Front Teeth:
These foods don’t have to be completely cut out of your diet, just cut up into bite-sized pieces before being eaten so that they may be chewed with the back molars. This includes foods such as apples, carrots, corn-on-the-cob, celery, spareribs and other meat with bones.
Some foods are just too tough to safely bite into with braces. These include ice, popcorn, hard French bread, hard sticky candies and nuts. Biting into these can bend or break your wires and brackets. Popcorn has the further potential to become lodged in your gums underneath the bracket, which can severely irritate your gums.
Candies like caramel, taffy, Skittles, Starburst, and even chewing gums such as Bubble Yum are bad for braces. Aside from being very sugary, these candies are sticky and chewy enough that they can actually pull your orthodontic appliance away from your teeth. This will require an appointment to re-affix the appliance and slow down treatment progress. It is best to avoid these and similar candies altogether.
Chewing on Non-edible Items:
We all have nervous habits, but chewing on other non-edible hard items like pens and pencils can also warp or damage your braces.
Picking at Your Braces:
Picking at your braces with your fingers or biting on your fingernails is not a good idea for a few reasons. Incessant picking may dislodge your appliance, and it is unhealthy to expose your teeth to the bacteria that often works its way underneath fingernails. It is important to maintain healthy teeth over the duration of orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth and gums help speed up tooth movement!