foods to avoid with braces

What Foods and Drinks Should You Avoid with Braces?

Braces can help straighten your teeth, eliminate gaps in your smile, and fix an underbite or overbite. However, braces are only effective as long as you take good care of them. Certain foods can damage your braces, while some drinks will put your teeth at risk of stains and cavities. The professionals at Lifetime Family Dental created this list to help you know what foods to avoid if you have braces. 

Foods to Avoid Immediately After Getting Braces

When you first get your braces, your mouth will be sensitive and sore for a few days while you adjust to your new braces. Some foods and drinks may irritate your mouth if you eat them too soon after getting braces. It’s best to stick to a soft food diet and to avoid spicy foods, citrus fruits, and hot foods and drinks until your mouth gets used to your braces. 

Types of Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Braces

Crunchy Foods

Hard, crunchy foods can get stuck in your braces or between your teeth, damaging your wires or forcing them out of alignment. To protect your braces and your teeth from damage, it’s best to steer clear of foods that are difficult to chew.

Prevent damaging your braces by avoiding these types of crunchy foods:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts (including any food or candy that contains nuts)
  • Seeds
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Ice cubes
  • Crunchy cookies, chips, and crackers
  • Hard pretzels
  • Hard taco shells
  • Corn on the cob (you can still enjoy corn kernels that have been cut off of the cob)

Hard or Sticky Candy

Candy in general is bad for your teeth due to its high sugar content, which leads to cavities. Hard and sticky candies, in particular, are even worse because they can get stuck underneath your braces and even pull the brackets away from your teeth.

Protect your teeth and braces by avoiding the following types of candy: 

  • Taffy
  • Caramels
  • Lollipops
  • Gummy candy
  • Hard or sticky chocolate
  • Chewing gum (while not necessarily a candy, gum can easily get stuck in your braces)

Chewy Foods

Foods that are difficult to chew put a strain on your braces, which can cause them to loosen over time. Chewy foods can also get caught in your braces and increase your risk of developing cavities.

Chewy foods to avoid when wearing braces include:

  • Pizza crust
  • Beef jerky
  • Meat on the bone
  • Any type of chewy candy

Sugary, Acidic, and Staining Drinks

Sugar and acid can cause harmful bacteria to build up on your teeth, especially around and under your braces, which causes tooth decay. Other drinks, like coffee and red wine, can potentially cause stains around your braces as well. The best beverages for your teeth, whether or not you have braces, are water and plain milk. 

Make sure to avoid these types of drinks while you have braces:

  • Diet and regular sodas
  • Sports drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Energy Drinks 
  • Coffee
  • Red wine

Foods You Should Cut up When You Eat with Braces

Some foods are only safe to eat while wearing braces if you cut them up into small pieces first. Because they are difficult to bite, they could cause damage to your braces otherwise.

Foods that you should cut up before eating include: 

  • Pizza
  • Burgers
  • Raw vegetables 
  • Thick bread (French/Italian bread, bagels, soft pretzels, rolls, etc.)
  • Fruit
  • Meat (especially steak)
  • Corn on the cob

Dental Cleanings for Mouths with Braces in Gilbert

Knowing what foods to avoid with braces will help you prevent the need for extended orthodontic treatment. However, regular brushing, flossing, and professional teeth cleanings are also essential steps for taking care of your braces. 

At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, Arizona, we provide gentle, thorough cleanings that help keep your teeth and your braces in good condition. If it’s been more than six months since your last cleaning, call us at 480-558-4331 today to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/30/2021). Photo by Jenna Tyson on Unsplash