The Worst Foods for Braces

September 24, 2014

smiling with braces and an appleWhile braces bring around a positive change for our teeth, change  that will bring life long benefits, there are a few challenges that will come along during the process. The types of food we eat can affect our braces differently, and certain foods can cause problems with treatment. Be aware of the foods that are healthy for braces, and those that should be avoided during your treatment. Making these simple yet important diet changes will be key in keeping your teeth healthy and avoiding the possibility of more and longer orthodontic treatment. Here are the foods that should be avoided during orthodontic treatment.

Crunchy Fruits & Veggies

Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and pears are foods to be cautious of. It isn’t necessarily these foods that are damaging to your teeth (although apples do have a high sugar content) but the way in which you eat them that are bad for you. Those foods that require you to bite down hard with your front teeth can have an effect on your front braces and can cause damage to the brackets and wires. You can still eat these foods, but first cut them into smaller bite sized pieces, or cook them to make them softer to eat. You can do the same with corn on the cob as well! This allows you to instead eat the food with your back molars, lessening the impact.

Chewy Candy

Chewy foods are some of the most damaging to braces. This includes taffy, caramel, and more. While these foods may seem harmless at first, their damage can deliver a powerful punch to your orthodontics. These sticky substances will wedge into the smallest of openings, solidifying their place in between the wires and brackets of your braces. Not only will this be uncomfortable, but the damage can be severe. With every bite you take of these foods, you will be taking a risk of pulling the bracket from the tooth. This will require an extra trip to the orthodontist that could have otherwise been avoided.


While you don’t need to completely cut sugar out of your diet, it would be smart to reduce the amount of sugar you eat during this time period. Foods that have an excessive amount of sugar will sit on the teeth, causing more problems in your mouth. These types of food can include:

  • Sodas and sports drinks
  • Cakes and candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies

With braces, it does become a bit more tricky to properly brush and floss, leaving the chance for these sugars to sit and fester. This leads to buildups in plaque, swollen gums, and more problems. If you do have a sugary treat, be sure to drink plenty of water after to wash out the damage. Be meticulous when brushing your teeth after, being sure to properly clean the braces.


More likely than not, you’ve experienced a popcorn kernel getting stuck in your teeth, even before having braces. Braces heighten the risk of getting popcorn kernels stuck, which can result in discomfort and pain. Not only that, but a stuck kernel can lead to swelling, and even infection if not treated. Sometimes, you may even have to have your braces removed so that the area can be cleaned out.

Next time you head to the movie theaters, you unfortunately may want to rethink this treat.


Just like with chewy candy, gum can cause several problems with your braces. Some gums are less sticky/chewy than others, but avoid sugary bubblegum as much as possible. Even if your isn’t as sticky as caramel or taffy, it can still get stuck between the wires, and in some cases even bend them, requiring repair and lengthening your treatment time. If you need to freshen your breath in a pinch, we recommend sucking on a mint or rinsing with mouthwash.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds can be enjoyed by the handful and are healthy and nutritious snacks. Unfortunately, while you’re wearing braces it is best to stay clear of them. Like sticky foods, nuts have a tendency to find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your teeth and braces, leading to decay and gum irritation if not treated or cleaned. In some cases, they could even break a wire. Especially after getting your braces tightened or adjusted, biting into anything hard, including nuts and seeds, can be painful.

Hard-Crusted Bread

Bread isn’t typically something we think of avoiding when it comes to braces, but it should be. Baguettes and bagels can be enticing, but the hard crust could pose a risk for the brackets and wires. Biting into tough bread after an orthodontist appointment can also be painful if your braces have just been tightened.
But don’t worry! Soft breads aren’t off-limits. Many store-bought loaves of bread are just fine to eat, so enjoy eating the crust on sandwiches, or by themselves.

Be aware of the foods you are eating with your braces and cut out those that will be damaging. Making these few changes during the brief period of your treatment will be beneficial, allowing your teeth to remain healthy. Feel free to contact Smile Ranch Orthodontics with any questions about what to eat!

Smile Ranch is Here for You!

Are you looking for a great smile? Look no further than Smile Ranch Orthodontics, where you can get affordable orthodontic treatment from one of our two experienced orthodontists. Schedule a free consultation today! We are excited to meet you.

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