“What can’t you eat with braces?” is one of the most common questions regarding treatment.
If you’re considering braces (or already have them), you’ve probably heard about food restrictions with braces and asked yourself, “What can I not have with braces?”
So, what actually makes the list?
The truth is, there are several things you can’t eat with braces if you want to make sure they stay in tip-top shape (and make sure you don’t prolong your treatment!).
We’ve put together a list of food to avoid with braces, plus other tips to keep your smile healthy and strong. Join us as we answer questions like, “What are the foods to avoid when wearing braces?”
Why Are There Specific Things You Can’t Eat With Braces?
There are things you can’t eat with braces! This is because certain foods can actually damage your braces. Additionally, the brackets and wires can trap food and plaque, leading to tooth decay and gum disease (just one of the reasons proper oral hygiene is even more important when you’re wearing braces!)
If you don’t listen to your orthodontist’s guidance on what foods not to eat with braces, you’ll likely damage your braces, which might lead to:
- Less-than-ideal results: If you’re constantly damaging your braces, you likely won’t see the results you’re expecting.
- Prolonged treatment time: Damaged braces can lengthen the amount of time you need to wear them. That’s because your orthodontist might need to repair them before moving you onto a new phase of treatment and or suspend your treatment until you resolve oral hygiene issues (i.e., gum disease).
- Increased treatment costs: Besides the extra cost of extended treatment, you might need to pay for repairs or replacement parts if your wires or brackets get damaged.
Ultimately, taking care of your braces will help you get them off quicker and keep more money in your pocket.
And don’t worry, the list of what can you eat with braces is longer than the list of food to avoid with braces. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the top things you can’t eat with braces!
What Foods Not To Eat With Braces
1. Hard Candy
At the top of every orthodontist’s list of foods to avoid when wearing braces is hard candy.
Hard candy is notorious for damaging braces – that’s why it’s one of the top food restrictions with braces. It can break brackets, pull wires out of place, and get stuck between your teeth, leading to tooth decay.
If you can’t go without candy, try soft candy that dissolves quickly, like chocolate. But if you want the best results possible, consider swearing off candy completely!
2. Sticky Candy And Gum
Another food to avoid with braces is sticky candy, including (and especially!) gum. Anything sticky can break brackets or pull wires out of place – and easily get stuck in between your teeth or on brackets/wire. When these sugary food get stuck on your teeth, they can easily and quickly lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
3. Chewy Bread
Chewy bread also makes the list of foods to avoid when wearing braces. Chewy bread like bagels and rolls can easily get stuck in between brackets and wires and is difficult to remove.
What can you eat with braces? If you need your bread fix, opt for easier-to-chew bread products, like muffins or pancakes.
4. Crunchy Snacks
Crunchy snacks like chips and pretzels can break wires and loosen brackets. Like all the other things you can’t eat with braces, they also can get stuck in between teeth.
What can you eat with braces when you need a snack? Stick to easily chewable food, like pudding, yogurt, or smoothies, that won’t damage your braces or get stuck between them.
Other Things To Avoid With Braces
Now that you know what things you can’t eat with braces, let’s talk about a few other things you should avoid when wearing braces to prevent damage.
1. Mindlessly Chewing On Hard Objects
When you think about what can’t you eat with braces, do you only think about food? The things to avoid with braces actually go beyond food!
Avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils, and ice – the pressure of chewing on these non-food items can break, loosen, or even knock off brackets.
2. Biting Your Nails
If you bite your nails, you’ll want to stop doing it in general, but especially while undergoing treatment! This habit can break brackets or wires, too, and can damage the enamel on your teeth, leading to other oral problems.
3. Using Your Teeth As A Tool
Be honest: You’ve used your teeth to open a bottle or rip off a price tag before. But using your teeth as a tool can damage braces and tooth enamel. Just because you’ve got metal in your mouth doesn’t mean you’re a human can opener!
4. Not Brushing And Flossing Properly
When you have braces, you need to up your oral hygiene routine even more. Brushing and flossing properly help remove food and plaque buildup around the brackets and wires. If you don’t care for your teeth, you’ll have a higher chance of ending up with tooth decay or gum disease.
5. Not Wearing A Mouthguard
If you play contact sports, it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your braces. Otherwise, you could damage your braces – or even lose a bracket or two while you’re playing. Additionally, the metal brackets can cause more severe damage to your mouth if you get hit.
6. Drinking Soda And Other Sugary Drinks
Just like all the food to avoid with braces, drinking soda and other sugary beverages can cause oral health issues. Sodas and artificially colored beverages can stain your teeth, and soda’s acidity can break down your teeth’s enamel.
What can you drink with braces? Stick to water or milk. If you’re craving a sugary drink, try to find one that’s sugar-free and doesn’t contain acid.
Oral Hygiene Tips For Orthodontic Patients
Besides the food restrictions with braces, you should make sure your oral hygiene is on point when you’re working with an orthodontist.
Here are some tips to help keep your oral health in tip-top shape during treatment.
1. Brush At Least Twice A Day
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day (and after meals whenever possible) to remove food and plaque from around the brackets and wires. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and orthodontic toothpaste for the best results!
Getting a Proxabrush can also be a great way to better clean in between brackets and wire.
2. Floss At Least Once A Day And Use Mouthwash
Flossing at least once a day can help remove food and plaque from around the brackets and wires. Platypus flossers can often provide the best experience during treatment. A WaterPik can also help remove food from between teeth and around your brackets/wire.
Rinsing with mouthwash will help get rid of food and plaque, too.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It’s important to visit your dentist for regular cleanings, even if you have braces and are under the care of an orthodontist. Your dentist can spot problems early on and prevent them from getting worse.
If you follow these tips, you’ll avoid damaging your braces and keep your smile healthy and sparkling!
What Can’t You Eat with Braces? Let Bates Orthodontics Answer All Your Braces Questions!
Changing your eating habits can be tricky, but learning what foods not to eat with braces will help get you the best results. Many foods can damage your teeth or brackets—extending your treatment and reducing your braces’ effectiveness. Remember to listen to your orthodontist’s advice about things you can’t eat with braces!
If you’re considering braces, Bates Orthodontics is here for you!
Here at Bates, we’re happy to answer all of your questions about things you can’t eat with braces and things to avoid with braces. Our experienced and welcoming team will work with you to ensure you get the best possible treatment and results. We have locations all around the Richmond area and offer braces for kids (early orthodontic treatment to prepare for full treatment later in life), teens, and adults. Everyone should have the opportunity for a perfect smile—no matter the age!
Schedule a consultation today to see how we can help you get the healthy, long-lasting, and beautiful smile you deserve.