It seems ironic that the tools used to improve your teeth and bite result in temporary restrictions on what you’re able to chew easily, but taking good care of your braces now is important. Damaged braces can mean a longer treatment time. Certain foods can be hard on braces, and can even damage the hardware. Avoiding a few common foods now can mean better oral health down the road.
Foods to Avoid
In general, anything hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy should be avoided. This includes, but isn’t limited to, popcorn, nuts, tortilla chips, hard candy, gum, ice, raw vegetables, and tough meats and snacks like beef jerky. You can eat some of these foods by cutting them up into smaller pieces, making them easier to chew, but popcorn and hard candies should be avoided until your braces come off.
While some foods should be avoided, there are some that are good choices during the time you wear your braces. Hull-less popcorn is a good substitute. Yogurt, bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other pitless, soft fruits are good choices. Light crackers or soft cookies are a good occasional treat. Mashed potatoes and other cooked vegetables, as well as pasta dishes, provide some variety to the diet without damaging your braces.
In general, you’ll want to avoid hard, sticky, crunchy foods while wearing braces. Remember that sugary foods like soda and candy tend to collect in the tiny crevices around your devices, and can make cleaning your teeth a more arduous task. If you simply can’t resist sweets, remember to clean your teeth thoroughly after every meal and snack, and pay particular attention to your flossing routine. Remember, wearing braces is a temporary situation. If you take good care of them for a short time, you’ll have stronger, straighter teeth and you’ll be better able to enjoy all the foods you love for the rest of your life.