When it comes to wearing braces, one of the hardest adjustments to make is the food limitations that come with them.
While braces are fairly sturdy, the bracket itself, wires, and rubber bands are still susceptible to damage caused by sticky, chewy, or hard foods.
Here are 5 groups of food you should avoid while wearing braces.
1. Candy: Hard & Sticky!
It is best to avoid eating any type of candy that is hard, chewy, or sticky as these can cause the wires and brackets on your braces to loosen up. If a hard candy hits a wire in the right way, it can become dislodged, whereas sticky candy can put pressure on the brackets and break them.
Candies that fit this category include items like caramels, gummies, taffy, fudge, jolly ranchers, and starburst.
Try frozen yogurt or ice cream a few weeks after your braces have been put on. These are safe foods but may not be enjoyed immediately after getting your braces due to pressure and sensitivity in the mouth.
2. Crunchy or Hard Snacks
Food items like popcorn, bagels, hard crackers, chips, pretzels, granola bars, toast, nuts, and pizza crusts are all off the menu. These items can also break brackets but are more prone to getting lodged in the wiring around the braces or in your gums. This type of food can be hard to remove from between the brackets and wiring, which may lead to an increase in plaque and tooth decay if not properly removed.
Choose softer foods like yogurt, soups, soft fruits without pits, cheese, nut butter spreads, and hulless popcorn.
3. Chewy Meats/Jerky
Meats that are notorious for being “chewy” like steak, burgers, and beef jerky have a higher chance of loosening up the wires attached to your braces as the food stays in contact for longer and can get wrapped around the brackets.
Fish and other types of seafood are great options.
4. Hard Fruits or Vegetables
Items like corn on the cob, baby carrots/raw carrots, apples, pears, celery, cherries, and dried fruit should not be eaten as whole. Rather, these should be either cut up into bite-sized chunks or cooked in such a way that softens them up. Fruits with pits or seeds should be avoided unless you are removing these prior to eating.
You can always puree your fruits and vegetables in a blender or with a juicer to get the nutrients from them. Consider eating fruits like strawberries, oranges, bananas, seedless grapes instead of apples or choose plums over peaches. Apple sauce and smoothies are also good options.
5. Gum & Ice
Biting down on ice while wearing braces can cause pain as it puts additional pressure on the teeth. Due to its freezing temperature, it can also significantly cool down your braces, causing discomfort and sensitivity to the teeth. The hardness of ice can cause braces to break. As for gum, it can get stuck in your braces and bend wires out of shape which disrupts the correction process.
The best foods to eat while you have braces are soft foods like mashed potatoes, soups, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and pasta as these pose the least risk to your braces and the correction process.