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Navigating Braces: Food You Can't Eat with Braces



food you can't eat with braces - young girl in baseball cap smiling with braces on her teeth

Hey there, brace-wearer! If you happen to belong to the millions of people who wear braces, then you're likely familiar with the challenges that come with maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods that can inflict damage on your braces. But what is the reason for avoiding certain foods with braces? And what are these foods precisely?

Let's begin with why it's crucial to avoid certain foods with braces. To put it simply, braces are delicate, and can be readily broken or damaged by foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy. This can result in a delay in your orthodontic treatment and, in some instances, lead to costly repairs or replacements. As a result, it's best to stay away from certain foods to avoid any setbacks on your path to achieving a flawless smile.

Now... food you can't eat with braces...

We've gathered a comprehensive list of the most dangerous foods that could potentially harm your braces. These include foods that are sticky and chewy, foods that are hard and crunchy, and foods that necessitate biting or pulling with your teeth. Examples of such foods include gum, caramel, popcorn, nuts, apples, corn on the cob, and whole carrots. That's quite a daunting list of delectable treats to refrain from consuming!

I'm not here to rain on your parade. There are still numerous foods that you can savor while wearing braces. Soft fruits and veggies, cooked grains and pasta, and dairy products are all splendid alternatives.

So, that's a quick look at why it's important to stay away from certain foods when you have braces and a look at some of the foods you should avoid. Don't stress out too much about what you can't eat. Instead, think about all the delicious and healthy things you can eat. Embrace the process of getting a better smile and enjoy it!


Sticky and Chewy Foods

Let's discuss one of the most difficult meal categories for those wearing braces: sticky and chewy foods. We've all been there: tempted by a sweet piece of caramel or a chewy piece of gum. Sadly, though, these foods can damage your braces.

Simple logic explains why chewy and sticky foods should be avoided when wearing braces. They may become stuck between the wires and brackets of your braces, which will make it challenging to get rid of them. If food gets stuck in your braces or teeth, then plaque builds up, which can lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease - yuck! Additionally, foods that are sticky can pull on your braces, which may result in them becoming loose or even breaking.

What kinds of sticky and chewy foods should you stay away from then? Gum, gummies, taffy, caramels, & toffees, are all at the top of the list. Even healthful foods should be consumed in moderation, such as dried fruits, which can be sticky and are heavy in natural sugars.

food you can't eat with braces - caramel being poured into a circular dish

There are numerous substitutes that will sate your sweet tooth without harming your braces. For instance, instead of chewy candies, consider indulging in soft fruits like bananas or berries, or choose a piece of chocolate that melts on your tongue.

You can avoid needless harm to your teeth and maintain their health and beauty by staying away from sticky and chewy foods.


Hard and Crunchy Foods

Let's talk about another challenging food category for people who are wearing braces: hard and crunchy foods. Although they may be tasty to snack on, these foods can unfortunately seriously jeopardize your orthodontic treatment.

So what's the problem with things that are hard and crunchy? Well, to begin with, eating foods of this nature can put a lot of pressure on your braces. An object's brackets or wires may bend or even break if you bite down on it too firmly. This may hurt and delay your recovery after treatment. Additionally, it can be uncomfortable if a bracket or wire does break until you can see your orthodontist for a repair.

Ok, here are a few of the main hard and crunchy foods you need to avoid while wearing braces: ice, popcorn, nuts, and hard candies. Nuts can be difficult to bite into and can put a lot of pressure on your braces, whilst popcorn is renowned for getting stuck in your teeth and braces. Even though we all adore hard candy, it is better to avoid eating it when wearing braces.

If you want something crunchy, try sliced carrots or cucumbers, or grab some pita chips. And instead of hard candies, choose a smoothie or a dish of ice cream if you're in the mood for something sweet.

Keep in mind that maintaining your braces is essential to ensure that your orthodontic treatment proceeds as intended. You can prevent unneeded harm and keep your smile on the path to perfection by avoiding meals that are rough and crunchy.

Just letting you know that this post could have some affiliate links in it. These links may result in a small monetary commission for me, if you decide to make a purchase, after clicking on them. Thanks for your support of Insider Mama!


Foods That Require Biting into or Pulling with Teeth

Let's talk about one of the trickiest food groups to navigate when you're rocking a set of braces: foods that require biting into or pulling with teeth. While these types of foods may seem harmless, they can actually be pretty risky for your braces.

The reason why foods that require biting into or pulling with teeth are problematic for braces is because they can cause the brackets and wires to become dislodged or damaged. You put a lot of strain on your braces when you bite down on anything hard or pull on it with your teeth, which can cause discomfort, agony, and even damaged brackets or wires.

So, what types of foods should you avoid? Well, some of the most common culprits include apples, corn on the cob, whole carrots, and any other foods that require you to take a big bite or pull with your teeth. You should avoid eating these kinds of foods because they can easily damage your braces.

food you can't eat with braces - corn on the cob grilling and charred a little

You might be wondering what the leaves for you to eat?!? For instance, you can opt for softer fruits and vegetables like bananas, avocados, and steamed broccoli, which are easier on your braces. You can also enjoy cooked versions of your favorite hard foods, like steamed corn instead of corn on the cob, or roasted nuts instead of whole ones.

Remember, taking care of your braces is essential to ensuring your orthodontic treatment goes smoothly and quickly. By avoiding foods that require biting into or pulling with your teeth, you can prevent unnecessary damage and keep your smile looking its best. So, be mindful of what you're eating and stick to softer, easier-to-chew options, and your braces (and your dentist!) will thank you.


Other Food You Can't Eat with Braces

When wearing braces, it's crucial to stay away from foods that require biting into or pulling with your teeth, as well as those that are sticky and chewy, hard, and crunchy. Do you realize though that you should avoid other foods, too?!?

We'll start with sugary beverages. Even though it's fun to drink soda, sports drinks, or juice, the sugar in these drinks can cause cavities and tooth rot. Additionally, drinking these kinds of beverages through a straw can stain your teeth. Sugary drinks should be consumed in moderation, or better yet, water should be substituted.

Ice is the following. Even though it might appear safe, chewing on ice can destroy your braces. Your brackets and wires may compress as a result of the cold, which may cause them to become loose or even shatter. Additionally, cracking ice can cause your teeth to chip. If you like chewing on ice, it's time to break that habit.

The last issue is chewing on pencils or pens. Although it may seem like a harmless habit, it can seriously harm your braces. The pressure you apply to your teeth when you chew on pens or pencils increases the risk of your brackets breaking or coming free. Additionally, chewing on objects other than food can contaminate your mouth with dangerous bacteria.

In conclusion, there are a variety of foods and lifestyle choices that brace-wearers should avoid. Avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, ice, and biting on pens or pencils will help keep your braces in place and make the process of getting a straighter smile as easy as possible.


food you can't eat with braces - girl in white long sleeve top smiling with braces

Tips for Eating with Braces

If you have braces, you are aware of the difficulty eating can occasionally provide. There are many methods to make mealtimes simpler and more fun, so don't stress. Here are some pointers for eating while wearing braces:

Your food will be easier to chew and less likely to become stuck in your braces if you cut it up into little pieces. Additionally, smaller portions allow you to enjoy your food for longer!

Use a straw when you're drinking to keep sugary or acidic liquids from getting on your teeth or braces. By doing so, the chance of tooth decay and discoloration can be decreased.

Avoid opening packages with your teeth: It may seem convenient to use your teeth to open a bag of chips or a candy package, but doing so might harm your braces and even harm your teeth. Instead, open packages using a pair of scissors or another instrument.

Avoid eating foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy since they might harm your braces and make them more difficult to clean. Choose softer meals that won't drag on the wires and brackets in your braces or get stuck in them.

The most significant dental hygiene advice is undoubtedly to brush right after every meal. After each meal, brush your teeth to remove food debris and plaque so that your braces stay gleaming and clean. Always brush carefully and with a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Don't forget to floss: Although it can be a little more difficult with braces, it is still necessary to do so. Use specific flossing implements made for braces, or ask your orthodontist for advice on how to properly floss.

You can make eating with braces simple by paying attention to these suggestions. Keep in mind that maintaining your braces is crucial to a successful orthodontic procedure and an attractive, healthy smile. Cheers to that!

Read my latest Insider Mama blog post "Braces-Friendly Food: Food You Can Eat with Braces" for additional information on what you can eat while wearing braces!


I hope this article has been helpful in navigating the world of food and braces. Ready, set, recap - here's what we learned about the food you can't eat with braces!

  • Sticky and chewy foods can get lodged in your braces and cause damage, so it's best to avoid them.

  • Hard and crunchy foods can also be risky for braces, as they can cause brackets and wires to break.

  • Foods that require biting into or pulling with teeth, like apples or corn on the cob, should also be avoided.

  • Other foods to avoid include sugary drinks, ice, and chewing on pens or pencils.

To make mealtimes easier with braces, try cutting your food into small pieces, using a straw for drinking, and avoiding using your teeth to open packaging.

Remember, your orthodontist's recommendations are key in maintaining healthy braces and a beautiful smile. So, be sure to follow their advice and steer clear of any foods that could damage your braces.

I hope that you are able to indulge in many foods that you love, while still avoiding food you can't eat with braces. Keep your kitchen and pantry stocked with braces-friendly foods to avoid the temptation to cheat!


Hi! I'm Jen, and I'm thrilled you stopped by!

I am a certified life coach, mother of five, wife, founder of the non-profit Eye on Vision Foundation, entrepreneur, Christian, and friend. I live, play, work and worship in the Orlando, Florida area.

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