While wearing braces, take special care to protect your teeth and gums.
Eating some foods can cause damage to your braces. Additionally, the brackets and wires in your braces have many little places between and under wires and bands where food and plaque particles can become trapped. This means that while you are wearing braces, you are at increased risk for promoting tooth decay or permanent discoloration of your teeth.
Here is some information to help you know which foods and drinks to avoid while wearing braces, in order to help prevent problems with your braces and accelerated tooth decay while wearing braces.
Foods That Can Damage Braces
Generally, while wearing braces, avoid chewy, sticky, crunchy, or hard foods. Eating foods with these properties can bend, loosen, or break the brackets, wires, or bands on your braces. Such incidents can be painful and can prolong the time you need to wear braces. Do not eat these foods:
- Hard cookies
- Hard candy
- Thick, sticky candy
- Chewy candy (like jelly beans, taffy, fruit bars)
- Carrot sticks, apples, other hard raw fruits or vegetables (Cut these into very small pieces.)
- Crunchy or sticky peanut butter
- Bagels or other chewy bread (Tear these into very small pieces.)
- Chewing gum
- Chips (Eat chips carefully, one chip at a time)
- Corn on the cob (Remove corn from the cob.)
- High-sugar beverages (soda, sweetened fruit juices, sport’s drinks, lemonade)
- Ice (Do not chew ice.)
Foods and Drinks That Can Promote Tooth Decay
Frequent consumption of foods high in acid, or long sessions of sipping high-acid beverages, can damage tooth enamel. Although many foods that are high in acid are generally good for your health, some are not the best foods for your teeth. And, because you are at increased risk of tooth decay during the period of wearing braces, also avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar or starch content.
- High Acid: Citrus fruits like oranges, pineapples, lemons, and plums, foods like pickles or salsas, and beverages like sports drinks, fruit drinks, and soda. (Diet soda is equally high in acid and damaging to tooth enamel.)
- High Sugar: Soda also contains 10-12 teaspoons of sugar. Candies, dessert foods, and many fruit-flavored beverages are also packed with sugar, and like soda, these are very low in nutrition.
- High Starch: Potato chips, French Fries, and other high-starch foods can stick to teeth, causing tooth decay.
In addition to avoiding foods that can damage your braces, discontinue habits of nail-biting, pencil-chewing, eating ice, or other activities that can break your braces.
Drink water as frequently as you wish. (Keep in mind, many brands of bottled water do not contain fluoride.)
Before you eat, drink, or chew on an object, think about whether or not what you’re putting in your mouth is something beneficial or potentially harmful to the proper functioning of your braces and to the general health of your teeth.
And, be sure to keep all of your appointments for adjustments and check-ups!