Did you just get braces? Now, are you wondering, “What can you not eat with braces?”
Getting braces is an exciting time! They’re an excellent way to improve your smile and confidence, and you’re probably looking forward to seeing your dream results.
But you might not be too enthused staring at the list of food you can’t eat with braces. Braces food restrictions, however, aren’t about limiting you. They’re about ensuring your treatment stays on course. Much of the food to avoid with braces cause damage or other problems, ultimately slowing down your braces timeline. So, what can’t you eat with braces?
In this article, we’ll help you understand what not to eat with braces, including a list of foods not allowed with braces. We also note some foods you can eat with braces alone and tips for maintaining good oral health. Let’s start with the braces basics!
What Are the Benefits of Braces?
Braces are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to improve their smile. They can help you:
- Get straighter teeth: Fixing alignment issues is the primary reason people get braces and one of the most significant benefits. Braces create a more aesthetically pleasing smile by aligning your teeth.
- Improve oral health: It’s easier to brush and floss your teeth when they’re properly aligned. Braces can help resolve issues such as underbites, which leads to better overall oral health.
- Boost your confidence and self-esteem: For many people, having straighter teeth is a major confidence boost. This is especially true for anyone who’s ever felt self-conscious about their smile.
Why Are There Braces Food Restrictions?
Just like any orthodontic treatment, braces only work if you do the work; and that means taking care of them by being careful about the foods you eat and avoiding anything that could damage your braces.
But why avoid food you can’t eat with braces? Why are there braces food restrictions? Well, eating certain foods can cause problems that will affect the effectiveness and length of your treatment.
- Broken brackets: Brackets are small metal or clear attachments that are bonded to your teeth. They’re connected by a wire that slowly moves your teeth into their correct positions. If you’re enjoying food you can’t eat with braces, you could break one or more of these brackets.
- Broken wires: The wire that runs through the brackets (called an “archwire”) can get damaged if you eat foods not allowed with braces. Broken wires can cause quite a bit of discomfort and even injury, in addition to lengthening your treatment time.
- Loose bands: Bands are rings your orthodontist sometimes places around your brackets to keep the archwire in place, giving braces a colorful (or clear) appearance. These bands could get damaged if you’re eating the wrong foods.
It’s important to pay attention to what you’re eating to avoid damaging your braces and increasing your treatment time. So, what are some of the top braces foods to avoid?
What Can You Not Eat With Braces?
Now that you know why there are braces food restrictions, let’s get specific about what not to eat with braces.
Hard & Crunchy Foods
Hard and crunchy foods top the list of foods not allowed with braces. Here are some examples:
- Raw vegetables, while healthy, can be hard on braces. It’s best to cook your veggies or cut them into small pieces before eating them.
- Nuts because they’re hard and can easily get caught in the brackets.
- Popcorn, especially the kernels, can get lodged in the brackets and wire, causing discomfort and damage.
- Hard foods that require you to use your teeth to bite into them, such as corn on the cob and apples, put a lot of pressure on your brackets and could break them.
- Ice can damage your teeth’s enamel and break the wire or brackets, especially if you chew on it.
Sugary & Starchy Foods
Sugary and starchy foods are another group of foods to avoid with braces. These include:
- Candy, especially anything chewy, sticky, or hard. Things like caramels, taffy, gum, and lollipops can easily break or shift a bracket.
- Cookies often contain problematic ingredients, like nuts and dried fruit, that can get stuck in brackets.
- Bread, pizza crust, and other starchy foods can get caught in the brackets and wires and cause damage.
Foods With Strong Colorants
Add foods with strong colorants to the list of “What Can’t You Eat With Braces,” including:
- Dark fruit juices
While the braces won’t stain, these foods can discolor the colors on your braces.
What Foods Can You Eat With Braces?
Sure, the list of food to avoid with braces might seem long, but we have good news: There are still plenty of options you can safely enjoy! Here are some examples of soft foods you can eat with braces:
- Dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, and yogurt)
- Soft fruits (e.g., bananas)
- Cooked vegetables
See? The list of what you can eat with braces is still significant! You might have to get a little creative with your recipes and meals, but you have plenty of options.
Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health With Braces
We’ve answered the common question, “What can you not eat with braces?” But learning what you can eat and not eat with braces is only part of the strategy for maintaining good oral health with braces. Here are some additional tips:
- Brush your teeth often. Brushing is especially important after eating or drinking anything that can potentially damage your braces. It helps remove any food or drink stuck in the braces and prevents plaque build-up.
- Floss your teeth daily. Flossing can help keep your braces clean. Make sure you floss under the wires and around the brackets to remove any stuck food or plaque. You can also use toothpicks after meals to dislodge any food caught in your braces.
- Switch up your toothbrush. Are you still using a regular toothbrush after getting your braces? Try using a toothbrush designed for people with braces! It has softer bristles and a smaller head, making it easier to get into all those new nooks and crannies.
- Use mouthwash. Using mouthwash, especially one designed for people with braces, can help remove any lingering food or bacteria in your mouth.
- Visit your dentist. You should see your dentist at least every six months, but you might need to go more often if you have braces. That’s because braces can trap food, making it easier for plaque and bacteria to build up on the teeth.
These tips will help ensure that your braces result in a healthy and beautiful smile.
Love Your Smile With Bates Orthodontics
Getting answers to, “What can you not eat with braces?” is an important part of your orthodontic treatment plan. If you follow these tips outlining what not to eat with braces – and follow any instructions given by your orthodontist – your treatment is more likely to stay on schedule.
Bates Orthodontics is one of the top orthodontic offices in Richmond, VA. We offer a full suite of teeth straightening services for children and older adults. Our team of trained professionals is passionate about helping you achieve the smile of your dreams.
When you contact us, we help you navigate every step of the process, from consultation to celebrating your new smile. Schedule a consultation today!