Posted on January 19, 2022

Foods You Can & Can’t Eat with Braces

When you are wearing braces, nothing feels quite as important as what kinds of food you can eat. The wrong food can damage your braces or stain your teeth, particularly berries, curry sauce or grape juice. Protecting your new bands, archwires and brackets along with your teeth and gums quickly rise to the top of your priority list!

Your teeth are vulnerable when you eat a lot of sugary and starchy foods because they produce plaque acid that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Your braces make it easier to trap food particles between them and your teeth, so it goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) that brushing and flossing are more important than ever in braces! Cavities are bad enough, but plaque and tartar can also leave your teeth with unsightly stains on areas that were not covered by braces.

Foods to Avoid

It’s important to take care of your teeth when you have braces. It’s completely normal to have a bit of an adjustment period as you get used to having braces.

In an effort to keep orthodontic patients well informed, our orthodontist Dr. Struhs is here to tell you about foods you can and can’t eat with braces.

Neglect can result in damaging the appliance or even your teeth. Both scenarios will lead to a longer treatment time and a more expensive treatment cost.

If you choose 20 Mile Orthodontics at either of our locations (Parker or Castle Rock), Dr. Struhs will lay out a detailed guide on what you should and shouldn’t be eating during your visit. But, here are some general guidelines to help you get started!

Keep Your Teeth & Braces Safe With the Foods You Eat

The best thing you can do to keep your teeth and braces safe when you eat is to follow the doctor’s instructions. This means dietary recommendations and oral hygiene.

Food You Can’t Eat With Braces

Many foods are bad for braces. Being mindful of what you eat could save thousands of dollars in repairs and extra months of treatment.

Sticky foods easily collect onto your braces and are nearly impossible to get out. Caramel, jelly beans, licorice, taffy, toffee and other sticky, hard candies can break off brackets. Gummy candy can bend your archwires and become trapped under the braces attachments. Chewing gum can get trapped in between all of your wires and is almost impossible to get off.

There are other foods so hard they can break your brackets and wires; toffee bits can break brackets and bands, and fibrous meat from the bone like chicken wings and ribs can even pop off a bracket. Beef jerky, pizza crust, chunky nuts and seeds, and raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) require a strong biting force, which can ultimately harm braces. Steam or cook your veggies, and if you’re eating hard crusty bread, like bagels, soften it with a soup or sauce and cut into bite-sized pieces.

There is also a small list of inedibles that can damage braces, so keep them away from your teeth! Ice is the most common reason braces components sustain damage, so don’t chew it. Even chewing absentmindedly on pens and pencils, paper clips (yikes!), and biting your fingernails can cause damage to braces. The main goal is to keep your braces and smile safe, align your teeth and not prolong your time wearing them.

You should avoid eating anything sticky, hard, or crunchy. This includes:

  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Gum
  • Caramel
  • Candy
  • Raw vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

It’s also important to avoid eating meat on the bone – they can cause brackets to pop off. This includes:

  • Steak
  • Chicken wings
  • Ribs

Drinks to Avoid With Braces

As long as you regularly brush and floss your teeth and braces, your beverage choices don’t have to change that much.

You should, however, try to avoid drinks that may stain your teeth, such as dark soda, coffee, and tea. Only the exposed part of your teeth will get stained. So, when your braces are removed, an outline will remain.

Foods You CAN Eat With Braces

Eat a balanced diet so that your teeth are healthy and strong when your braces come off and get your daily requirements of protein, calcium, vitamins, iron and fiber. Soft textured foods are always good for your braces, particularly right after your braces are tightened.

  • Soft fruit
    ripe pears, nectarines, tangerines, kiwis, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, applesauce, and fruit that is diced and chewed with the molars
  • Vegetables
    steamed or cooked vegetables keep your smile healthy
  • Dairy
    low-fat milk, yogurt, smoothies, and soft cheeses feel good in your mouth
  • Eggs
    scrambled, hard-boiled, sunny-side up or made into omelets are “eggs-cellent” choices
  • Meat
    tender choices like meatloaf, fish, chicken, and turkey or tofu are healthy and safe
  • Grains
    soft-textured grains like pasta, rice or quinoa are good for you
  • Soft bread
    muffins, pancakes, tortillas, and biscuits are gentle on your chompers

If your braces-friendly foods seem bland or boring, mix things up a bit and find recipes that will help keep your taste buds and your teeth happy. Be mindful with the holidays coming up as many traditional favorites (candied apples, peanut brittle and candy canes) are bad for your teeth and braces! Give our orthodontic team a call if you have any questions.

Orthodontics in Parker and Castle Rock, CO

You aren’t alone on this journey. If you still have questions about what you can and can’t eat, book an appointment online to come in and talk to Dr. Struhs.

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