Eating with Braces: A Guide from an Orthodontist

Written by: Sam Ghosh

Teenager eating with braces

Updated: December 2, 2021

The decision to undergo orthodontic treatment through braces means that you will soon have a beautifully straight smile, but in the meantime, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. One of the most common questions we have from braces patients is what can and cannot be eaten with braces. Choosing your food and snacks with your braces in mind will make a big difference in the long run, especially in avoiding emergencies or other setbacks for your orthodontic treatment. 

While you are on your journey to the smile of your dreams, you need to make sure to follow the rules. We understand that it is not fun when you can’t have your favorite snacks or that your favorite food is off the menu. We also understand that it can be confusing to navigate through the dos and don’ts of eating with braces, so we’ve broken down some simple guidelines.

Ask Your Orthodontist

Every orthodontic treatment plan is tailored for the patient and their unique circumstance. When you first get your braces put on, the only way to know what foods to avoid is by having a conversation with your orthodontist. This will not only help you to understand the foods that you can enjoy, but it can also help you keep your smile healthy throughout treatment. 

Dr. Ghosh will take the type of braces that you have into account before making recommendations. Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual braces all have slightly different rules to follow than Invisalign aligners. Some foods that can damage your braces can be enjoyed with Invisalign as long as proper oral hygiene is followed. 

Foods that are Off-Limits

It is important to know which foods are typically off-limits when undergoing braces treatment, especially for fixed appliances. For example, chewing gum can wreak havoc on your braces, and sticky foods can get caught and get stuck on the metal brackets. 

Hard candies and suckers are off-limits during treatment. Even though they may not be sticky enough to get stuck on your teeth, they still pose a threat to your braces and your oral health. This can be attributed to the sugars in these candies. You want to avoid these foods because the sugar and acid can cause damage to your teeth since you can’t easily clean under the brackets. especially when it can cause decay under your brackets. 

One of the biggest culprits of braces damage is chewy foods. Snacks like gummies, dried fruit, taffy, fruit snacks, and caramels are sticks and can get stuck in your teeth and braces. Once they get stuck, these foods can be hard to get out of your wires and brackets. 

Large foods like apples or corn on the cob need to be cut up. A good rule of thumb is if you cannot eat it in one bite, break it into smaller pieces.

Tough foods and snacks, like jerky or hard pizza crust, should be avoided. If you have to bite and tug, it should be avoided. 

Hard and crunchy foods, can cause major damage to your brackets and can even break them. Even foods such as carrots can break your braces, so we recommend steaming crunchy vegetables. You want to avoid any extra pressure or stress being put on the teeth and jaws when eating. 

Soft foods are usually safe to have during braces treatment. It is also important to alter your dining habits throughout treatment. For example, long strands of pasta may get themselves wound around your brackets, so you may need to start using a fork and knife to eat your spaghetti instead of a fork and spoon. 

Pay Attention to your Oral Health

Many patients consider treatment as a time to eat better to benefit their overall health. Instead of picking up gooey treats that are bad for the brackets and your health in general, they turn to healthy snacks. When you are making changes in your eating habits to accommodate your braces, consider it an opportunity to better your oral health overall. 

During treatment, you should pay extra attention to brushing and flossing, especially after meals. This can help ensure that your smile is healthy and cavity-free. 

Braces Treatment in Allentown and Pottsville

The exact dietary plan you’ll have to follow depends upon your personal situation and the types of braces you will have. When you speak with your orthodontist about what you cannot eat during this process, make certain to take close notes. Failure to do so could mean that you damage the devices and elongate the treatment process.

Dr. Ghosh is an expert orthodontist providing pediatric and adult braces treatment throughout the Lehigh Valley and the Pottsville area. Schedule a complimentary orthodontic treatment evaluation to see which treatment plan is right for you.  

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