29th Nov, 2023
‘What can I eat?’ Orthodontists often hear this common question from people who just got braces.
Fortunately, there are more things that you can eat than things that you can’t eat. Here are some of the foods you should avoid and what you can eat instead.
Types Of Food To Avoid With Braces
If you’ve got braces you should aim to eat a balanced diet, and eat foods that are low in sugar, are soft, and don’t require excessive chewing. The kinds of food to avoid with braces are generally:
- Sticky Foods
- Chewy foods
- Crunchy foods
- Hard foods – or those that require a forceful bite.
- Sugary foods and drinks
What Specific Foods To Avoid
We get a range of clients who ask questions about what specific foods to avoid. Whilst the types of food listed above can act as a good guideline, we’ve also compiled a list of specific foods to avoid eating if you have braces.
Foods To Avoid Eating With Braces
- Corn On The Cob
- Hard & Chewy Candy
- Raw Vegetables
- Chewy Bread & Meat
1. Can I Eat Corn With Braces?
You should avoid eating corn on the cob as it may damage your braces. We recommend cutting it off instead, and ensuring you thoroughly clean your teeth afterwards.
Imagine biting into a hard piece of corn on the cob. As you imagine this scenario, you can see how quickly corn on the cob could damage your braces. The act of biting it could break your wires or your brackets.
What to eat instead: Try cutting the corn off the cob with a sharp knife and eating the corn pieces with a fork. You’ll still get the fresh taste from corn on the cob without risking broken braces.
2. Can I eat hard foods and candy with braces?
You should avoid hard or chewy candy with braces, as these may damage them or get stuck under your brackets.
Like corn on the cob, hard candy is difficult to chew and can damage your braces. Candies to avoid include:
- Chewy candy bars
Some of these treats, like taffy, can get stuck around and under your brackets. It can be difficult to remove this candy residue, even with brushing and flossing.
What to eat instead: Eat chocolate or candy that dissolves in your mouth and doesn’t require chewing.
3. Can I eat popcorn with braces?
You should avoid popcorn, as the small pieces of debris may get stuck under your brackets, and biting into the popcorn seeds could damage your braces.
Before you got braces, you bought a big bowl of popcorn at the movie theatre. Now that you have braces, those little pieces of popcorn could get stuck under your brackets. Plus, biting down on popcorn seeds could ruin your brackets.
What to eat instead: Try hulless popcorn, a type of popcorn with a smaller kernel. It is more tender and easier to chew. Or, pick softer snacks like ice cream.
4. Can I chew gum with braces?
You should avoid chewy foods like gum due to the pressure they require to chew, which may damage the braces.
Chewing gum puts a lot of pressure on your braces, causing the wire to bend and break. If the wire is bent, your braces can’t move your teeth into the right position. Your orthodontist will need to replace the wire. Bending the wire could prolong your time with braces.
What to eat instead: If you want to freshen your breath, suck on a breath mint instead. Just remember not to chew it.
5. Can I eat hard fruits and vegetables with braces?
You should avoid hard fruits and vegetables as the pressure required to bite into them may damage your braces.
You can’t imagine someone telling you not to eat your veggies. But if you have braces, you shouldn’t eat raw vegetables or hard fruits like:
Continue to eat vegetables, because these healthy foods give your teeth the nutrients they need.
What to eat instead: You can still eat these vegetables—simply boil them until they’re soft.
6. Can I eat bread, pizza and baguettes with braces?
You should avoid foods like bread and pizza that are particularly difficult to bite or chew, or eat them in moderation.
You may find that some foods you eat on a regular basis suddenly become difficult to chew. These foods include:
- Pizza crust
- Hard pretzels
You may be able to eat these foods by cutting them into tiny pieces and eating them slowly, bite by bite.
What to eat instead: Try incorporating softer foods into your diet, such as mashed potatoes, pasta and soup.
Take Care of Your Braces
Paying attention to what you do and don’t eat can protect your braces and your teeth. When you eat the correct foods, you won’t damage your braces and prolong your treatment.
If you can’t stand the thought of giving up these foods, consider Invisalign instead of traditional braces. Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners. You can remove these aligners to eat, so you are free to eat what you normally would.
If you have questions about what you can and can’t eat, talk to an orthodontist. He or she will also provide you with additional advice to care for your teeth while you wear braces. Keep referring to our blog for more information about living a healthy life with braces.